American Department of Defence said on Wednesday it had temporarily moved about 200 Marines to Sicily from their base in Spain, as a precaution due to concerns about turmoil in North Africa.
This move came to bolster the US ability to respond to any crisis in that area, which has been swamped with instability since the ouster of Libyan President Muammar Al-Gaddafi.
Last October, about 200 Marines were also repositioned to Naval Air Station Sigonella, in Sicily for several weeks after US special operations forces had captured a senior Al- Qaeda leader in Libya.
Pentagon spokesman, Colonel Steve Warren said that the Marines were “unquestionably” focused on the protection of embassies. But he did not rule out the possibility that they could carry out other missions.
“These are United States Marines capable of conducting any mission given to them. That said, the focus of this force is the protection of embassies and US personnel,” Warren said.
It is worth mentioning that the US Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans were killed in November 2011, after popular angry protests broke out in wake of viewing a defamatory film about Prophet Muhammad on YouTube.
A Christian Egyptian-American citizen produced the film, which was acted by American actors. This led to a wide wave of angry protests against the United States.