200 heavily armed U.S. Marines are headed to an Italian naval base, poised to fly at a moment’s notice to Libya should the U.S. Embassy come under assault from angry crowds in the wake of al Libi’s capture.
The deployment, which began Monday, was made in coordination with the State Department, a military official told CNN. The official called the move a “prudent measure” after the U.S. military raid to capture al Libi.
The Marines are part of a 500-member unit formed after the 2012 attack on the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi that left Ambassador Christopher Stevens and two other U.S. citizens dead. Military forces were not close enough to respond to that attack.
The official said they were being moved along with three V-22 Osprey aircraft capable of delivering them and their supplies to Libya, which lies about 328 miles (528 kilometers) across the Mediterranean Sea.