ROME – The Italian Navy is resuming exercises in the Mediterranean Sea, including near the coast of Libya, amid concerns about rapidly deteriorating security in the North African nation.
The exercise will begin on Monday. It includes anti-submarine, anti-aircraft and anti-ship training operations.
The exercise was suspended for a year because of the heavy deployment of Italian Coast Guard, Navy and other Italian vessels during intensive rescue and surveillance operations to combat migrant smuggling from Libyan shores. That mission was stopped when a European Union maritime operation recently started anti-smuggling patrols.
Italy's new chief of staff, Gen. Claudio Graziano, says that while the training exercise is "routine," it also plays a "role of dissuasion" in terms of general security. Italy has oil and gas, including offshore, interests in Libya.