Reports from Italy indicate it has taken steps to defend itself against threats of attacks by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria with the announcement by the Italian Navy that it will begin naval exercise “Mare Aperto” (Open Sea) in the Mediterranean starting next week.

Italy, which once held Libya as a colony, has closed its embassy in Tripoli and Italian nationals have been ordered to evacuate from Libya, although some personnel will remain to operate Italy’s extensive oil holdings.

While the Navy will confirm only that the exercises are to take place, claiming they are “routine,” Italy’s chief of staff, Gen. Claudio Graziano, acknowledges that they play “a role of dissuasion.”

Eyewitness report from Breitbart News reporter, John Xenakis, puts the number of vessels participating in the exercises far ahead of those in the past.” The fleet includes ant-submarine, anti-aircraft and anti-ship training.

Sources in the city of Derna, Libya claim that ISIS forces abandoned the city following news of the deployment of the Italian Navy to the Mediterranean and United Arab Emirates media, Al-Khaleej, ran with the headline “Italian Naval Maneuvers From Italy To Tripoli and ISIS Flees from Derna.”

The ISIS fighters were thought to have fled to a mountainous area near the city.

Italy’s southernmost islands lying less than 200 miles away from Libya across the Mediterranean Sea and the northern shores of Libya would offer a strategic position for ISIS to use in an attack not only on Italy, but as a base for an attack on the entire continent of Europe.

The terrorist group has made no secret of its intent to invade Rome and assassinate Pope Francis, the leader of 1.2 billion Catholics worldwide and the natural ally of Christians and Jews around the globe. The Pontiff has openly condemned what he calls the “intolerable brutality” of the ISIS fighters who have boasted that they intend to raise their black flag over the Vatican in a war against Catholics.

ISIS published its threats in a recent issue of its slick publication, Dabiq, stating, “We will conquer your Rome, break your crosses, and enslave your women. Every Muslim should get out of his house, find a crusader and kill him.”

The Islamic terror group has begun using the term “crusader” to describe Christians ever since President Obama compared the Christian Crusades of the 11th and 12th centuries to ISIS’s barbarism in a speech at the National Prayer Breakfast in February.


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