Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi has ruled out the prospect of Italy taking part in a military intervention in Libya for the time being, amid concerns about the advances made by armed Islamists in the north African country.
Renzi said the international community has all the necessary instruments to intervene if it wants to and that Italy would wait for the UN Security Council to take a decision on intervention.
Italy has closed its embassy in Tripoli and repatriated a group of around 60 Italians.
The move came after jihadists purporting to belong to the Islamic State armed group released a video showing the beheading of 21 Egyptian Coptic Christian hostages, who had been held for several weeks in Libya.
In the video one of the jihadists warned Italy that the group's plans were to conquer Rome.
Pope Francis has condemned the mass beheading.
He said they were murdered only for being Christians.