The Secretary of Defense, Ash Carter confirmed while traveling in Germany on Tuesday that Italy has volunteered to lead any pending operations against Islamic State in Libya.
Carter’s comments came during a press conference just after attending a change-of-command ceremony for U.S. European Command. Joined by Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Marine Corps Gen. Joseph Dunford and the newly minted Supreme Allied Commander of Europe Curtis Scaparrotti, Carter explained to reporters how the Pentagon intends to address the rise of Islamic State in Libya.
“We want to be clear, the circumstances that exist there now have caused us to act, and we’ve taken some actions in Libya,” said Carter.
“But I think the main issue you’re raising is, when can … the effort begin, which the Italians indicated they’d lead, and has been long awaited, to help Libya put itself back together and expel what are basically foreigners from its territory.”
Italy first proposed the idea of leading operations against ISIS in February after the terrorist group engaged in a hotel bombing in Tripoli and beheaded 21 Christians on video.