U.S. positions forces in Sicily over North Africa security fears

WASHINGTON Wed May 14, 2014 12:32pm EDT

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Pentagon said on Wednesday it has temporarily moved nearly 200 Marines to Sicily from their base in Spain because of concerns about unrest in North Africa, bolstering the U.S. ability to respond to any crisis.

It follows a similar step in October, when about 200 Marines also focused on embassy security were temporarily moved to Naval Air Station Sigonella in Sicily after U.S. special operations forces captured a senior al Qaeda figure in Libya.

"We're doing this as a contingency because we believe that the security situation in North Africa is deteriorating to a point where there could be threats," said Colonel Steve Warren, a Pentagon spokesman.

Warren declined to specify the nature of the threat. However, a U.S. official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Reuters the concerns centered on Libya.

(Reporting by Phil Stewart; Editing by Bill Trott)

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