ROME (Reuters) - Italy evacuated 15 Libyans on Monday for medical treatment after they were wounded in last week’s truck bomb attack against a police training center, the Italian government said.
At dawn, Italy sent a C-130 transport plane to the port city of Misrata to take the wounded to a military hospital in Rome and subsequently perhaps in other Italian hospitals, the statement said.
“This operation is a concrete gesture of solidarity and attention by Italy for the Libyan people at a particularly delicate moment for the stabilization of the country,” the statement said.
Islamic State militants claimed responsibility on Friday for the bombing the day before. The attack killed at least 47 people and wounded more than 100, making it the worst such attack since the fall of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.
Italy and other Western powers have been pushing Libya’s factions to back a U.N.-brokered plan for a national unity government to join forces against Islamic State militants. But the agreement faces major resistance from several factions on the ground.
Since a NATO-backed revolt ousted Gaddafi, Libya has descended into turmoil. Two rival governments and a range of armed factions are locked in a struggle for control of the OPEC state and its oil wealth.
In the chaos, Islamic State militants have grown in strength, targeting Tripoli, the capital, and oil infrastructure, including the shelling of two major oil export terminals in the east last week.
Reporting by Steve Scherer, editing by Larry King