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U.S. Marines Move Closer to Libya Following Unrest

USS Bataan (LHD-5) on May 15, 2014. US Navy Photo

USS Bataan (LHD-5) on May 15, 2014. US Navy Photo

The Pentagon is moving an amphibious warship closer to Libya following an attack on the prime minister’s home, a defense official told USNI News on Wednesday.

USS Bataan (LHD-5) and about 1,000 embarked Marines from the 22nd Marine Expeditionary unit are currently in the Eastern Mediterranean moving closer to the country.

The ship transited the Suez Canal on Tuesday and could be off the Libyan coast as early as Thursday.

The ship is embarked with a collection of MV-22 Ospreys, AV-8B Harrier II tactical fighters and AH-1 Cobra helicopter gunships.

Bataan’s move is in response to increasing tensions in a post- Moammar Gadhafi Libya.

Early Tuesday morning gunmen attacked the Tripoli home of Libyan Prime Minister Ahmed Miitig, according to a report in Reuters.

An aide told the wire service, “there was an attack with rockets and small arms on the prime minister’s house.”

Miitig and his family escaped unharmed.

Libya’s government has been in turmoil since the 2011 civil war that resulted in the death of dictator Gadhafi with a high rate of turnover in leadership positions.

Matters are exasperated by easy access to small arms in the country following the NATO and U.S. backed campaigns in the region.

The U.S. also has a group of Marines in Italy in range of Libya.

Categories: Aviation, Foreign Forces, News & Analysis, Surface Forces, U.S. Marine Corps, U.S. Navy
Sam LaGrone

About Sam LaGrone

Sam LaGrone is the USNI Online Editor at the U.S. Naval Institute.
He was formerly the U.S. Maritime Correspondent for the Washington D.C. bureau of Jane’s Defence Weekly and Jane’s Navy International. In his role he covered legislation, acquisition and operations for the Sea Services and spent time underway with the U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps and the Canadian Navy.
Sam is a 2003 graduate of Virginia Military Institute.