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UK cannot ‘rule out’ deploying ground troops in Libya, Hammond says

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 DarkKnightNomeD    2,079

Here we go again...


UK cannot ‘rule out’ deploying ground troops in Libya, Hammond says



British ground troops, supported by the Air Force and Navy, may go to Libya to take action against Islamic State in the future, UK Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said, just days after telling MPs that no such plans were in the works.

Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond made his remarks in a Telegraph interview on Sunday. Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) are seeking to turn Libya into a “bolthole” for launching attacks on mainland Europe or Western ships at sea, Hammond argued.

No plan or ‘appetite’ to send combat troops to Libya – Hammond

“It wouldn’t make sense to rule anything out because you never know how things are going to evolve,” Hammond told The Telegraph. “But if there were ever any question of a British combat role in any form – ground, sea or air – that would go to the House of Commons.”

The Foreign Secretary warned that there is a possibility that IS could send terrorists across the Mediterranean to Italy in order to mount attacks, adding that British cruise liners and commercial ships have already been warned to avoid the coast off the Libyan city of Sirte.

“The southern Mediterranean coast is a vital security interest. Clearly, internationally-focused terrorists, established on the Mediterranean coast, are a threat to all the countries of Europe, including the UK.”

Asked whether Islamists could cross the Mediterranean in boats to reach Europe, he said: “It is only 100 miles from Libya to Lampedusa [the southernmost island of Italy]. I think it is a threat. If Daesh [Arabic acronym for the Islamic State] became established in Libya and sought to use that established base to infiltrate terrorists into Europe, that would be a threat to all of us.”

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