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article imageU.S. sends 200 marines from Spain to Sicily

By Ken Hanly     May 16, 2014 in World
Washington - The United States has transferred nearly 200 marines from a base in Moron, Spain to the U.S. naval air station in Sigonella Italy. The group of marines is part of "crisis response" teams created after the Benghazi attack on a US diplomatic post in 2012.
The move reflects growing concern over insecurity and violence in Libya. However, authorities said there was no immediate plan for evacuation of the U.S. embassy in Tripoli. An anonymous official said: "We're seeing a deterioration of the security situation there," The crisis team has four tilt-rotor Osprey aircraft plus two KC-130 refueling tankers. They arrived in Sigonella on Tuesday (May 13) according to Pentagon spokesperson Colonel Steven Warren. He claimed that the move was a "prudent measure" taken in response to "the general unrest in Northern Africa." He would not say if the measure was in response to events in Libya. Warren said: “We’re doing this as a contingency because we believe that the security situation in North Africa is deteriorating to a point where there could be threats".
While most of the Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force Crisis Response is stationed in Spain there are also some in Romania. After U.S. Special Forces kidnapped terror suspect Anas al-Liby from his home in Tripoli and transported him to a U.S. ship in the Mediterranean, 200 marines were also flown to Sigonella as a response to the unrest triggered by the rendition. Navy Capt. Greg Hicks, a EUCOM spokesperson claimed that the move was due to general threats: “Given their commitment to protecting the men and women who serve our embassies around the world and out of an abundance of caution, the U.S. Department of Defense, in coordination and consultation with the Department of State, is positioning resources in the region in the event they are needed in the future,”
While two Libyan oil ports that were blockaded since last summer have been re-opened after a deal with the recently resigned prime minister, there are still two major ports that are not open and the rebels refuse to deal with the new prime minister. Ahmed Maiteeg. Recently some soldiers in Tripoli who are responsible for defending the prime minister's office blocked cars from leaving the building to protest their not being paid.
More about Benghazi attack, US Libya relations, Libyan security concerns