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Italy warns IS could pose threat to Europe, steps up security

media Reinforced security at St Peter's in Rome AFP

Italy has issued its strongest warning yet about the danger of the Islamic State (IS) armed group establishing a stronghold in Libya that would threaten Europe’s security. And security chiefs in Italy have approved a plan to put 4,800 soldiers on the streets throughout the country to help guard against terror attacks.

Italian Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni told parliament Wednesday there is an "evident risk" of IS fighters in Libya forging an alliance with local militias or criminal gangs battling for

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control of the country.

In the meantime, after a meeting of military and security officials, the interior ministry said security was being stepped up to guard sensitive sites and targets until at least June.

Five hundred soldiers are being deployed in Rome, where troops already help guard diplomatic missions and residences, synagogue and Jewish schools.

Troops are expected to be deployed at tourist venues including archaeological sites and monuments.

With the worsening situation in Libya, security officials consider Rome particularly sensitive because it is home to the Vatican, the home of the Holy See of the Catholic Church.

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