Italy’s ambassador to Libya says his country’s naval mission to thwart migrant smugglers is going ahead despite threats.

The general commanding militias in eastern Libya which oppose the Tripoli-based government had been quoted as saying he’d have Italian naval vessels bombed if they help Libya’s coast guard in territorial waters off the north African country’s western coast, where many of the smugglers are based.

With patience thinning over the hundreds of thousands of asylum-seekers rescued at sea in recent years and taken to Italian ports, Parliament this week approved sending naval units to assist Libya stop smugglers boats.

Italy’s government insists the vessels are being deployed at the Tripoli-based government’s request.

Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera Friday quoted Ambassador Giuseppe Perrone as saying the threats “won’t stop the Italian mission.”

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