Italy's defense minister says a field hospital requested by the U.N.-backed government in Libya to treat wounded militia soldiers fighting the Islamic State group could be fully operational within three weeks at the Misrata airport.

Defense Minister Roberta Pinotti said the hospital staff will comprise 65 doctors and nurses, 135 support personnel and 100 paratroopers for an around-the-clock protection force. The hospital will have 50 beds, and include a surgical team.

Pinotti said a plane will also be on standby at the airport for evacuation, and a ship will be stationed offshore to offer support as well as additional security.

Pinotti said the U.N.-brokered presidency council requested the hospital in a letter to Premier Matteo Renzi in early August and Italy sent two reconnaissance teams to assess the needs.