Bonino confirms U.S. troops in Sicily over Libya concern

Forces near in case of escalating violence

Bonino confirms U.S. troops in Sicily over Libya concern

(refiles removing erroneous NATO reference)Rome, May 15 - Italian Foreign Minister Emma Bonino on Wednesday confirmed that only 200 American troops were being moved to Sicily to be ready for rapid deployment if any new attacks occur in Libya. "It is taking place in accordance with bilateral agreements (with the US)," Bonino told a joint session of the House and Senate foreign commissions. Earlier reports said 500 soliders were being transferred from Spain to the Sigonella Base. Sigonella, which is southwest of Catania, is a major base used by the US navy and air force as well as the Italian air force. On Monday up to 15 people were killed when a car bomb exploded outside a hospital in Libya's eastern city of Benghazi. The country has shown increasing signs of turmoil since strongman Muammar Gaddafi was removed from power and killed by rebels in 2011. Last week three police stations were bombed in Benghazi, causing no casualties. A car bomb exploded outside the French embassy last month in the capital Tripoli, wounding several residents and two French guards. Last September, the American diplomatic facility in Benghazi was attacked by gunmen, leading to the killing of Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other consular officials.

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