Military

US Military Building Up Network of Bases in Italy For Operations in Africa

Worried about spread of Islamic extremism

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TRIPOLI, Libya, Oct. 15 (UPI) -- The U.S. deployment of 200 Marines to a naval base in Sicily for possible operations in Libya, a short hop across the Mediterranean, underlines how the Americans have been building a network of bases in Italy as launch pads for military interventions in Africa and the Mideast.

The signs are that 20 years after the American military's first, and costly, encounter with Muslim militants in Mogadishu, Somalia, U.S. operations in Africa are growing as the Islamist threat expands.

Another key factor is U.S. President Barack Obama's switch in his counter-terror strategy from drone strikes against al-Qaida to pinpoint raids by small Special Forces teams, as seen in Somalia and Libya Oct. 5.