Rome: Italy said on Sunday it was willing to lead an international coalition against jihadists in Libya, as it began repatriating its citizens from the troubled north African country.
About 100 Italians were being evacuated from the country on a boat escorted by the Italian navy, foreign ministry sources said.
Rome on Friday warned its nationals against travelling to Libya and urged those already there to leave in the face of mounting insecurity as jihadists gain ground.
Defence Minister Roberta Pinotti said in an interview published Sunday that Italy was ready to lead a coalition from Europe and north African states to battle against the advance of jihadists in the violence-plagued country.
"We have been discussing this for months but now it has become urgent," Pinotti told Il Messaggero newspaper.