Italian coastguard wants to carry weapons

Italy’s coastguard on Friday called on the government to change its status so that its 11,000 seamen can carry weapons, amid mounting concern over the possibility of attacks by people traffickers or terrorists.

The demand is a long-standing one but has been renewed following a recent incident in which traffickers armed with Kalashnikovs threatened coastguards engaged in an operation to rescue thousands of migrants in danger of drowning close to Libya.

It also follows signs that the Islamic State group has established a base in conflict-torn Libya, from where propagandists claiming to speak for the jihadists have threatened to mount attacks on southern Europe and merchant shipping in the Mediterranean.

The coastguard wants to be given the same status as Italy’s police forces, which would automatically give it the right to carry weapons…

h/t Marvin