The United States will move about 200 Marines to a U.S. base at Sigonella, Italy from one in Spain in the next day or so, U.S. military officials said on Tuesday, bolstering the U.S. ability to respond to any crises after its raid in Libya.
The move comes after a U.S. special operations forces captured a senior al Qaeda figure in Libya on Saturday and whisked him to a warship for questioning.
One U.S. military official called the Marines’ move to Naval Air Station Sigonella a “prudent, precautionary” measure after the Libya raid.
The Marines are part of the Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force-Crisis Response, which was created after last year’s attack on the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya to bolster U.S. response capabilities in north and west Africa.
Libyan militant groups angered by Saturday’s raid have taken to social networking sites to call for revenge attacks on strategic targets, including gas-export pipelines, planes and ships, as well as for the kidnapping of Americans.
In the operation, U.S. special forces seized Nazih al-Ragye, known by his alias Abu Anas al-Liby – a Libyan who is a suspect in the 1998 bombings of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania that killed 224 civilians.