The phrase “Operation Gladio” has long been associated with the notorious US counter-terrorism operation that took the lives of more than 100,000 people.
Now it has come under fire after a report said the Italian military’s involvement in the operation is illegal.
The report, by the independent Italian watchdog group Repubblica, claimed the army had “taken advantage of the situation” in Libya to carry out the attack.
It accused the Italian army of using “a state secret to launch an operation that is illegal, illegal and contrary to international law”.
“We are not aware of any such operation,” Repubblias head of investigation and former military prosecutor, Paolo Zappia, told the Italian news agency ANSA.
“But, in the past, the military has taken advantage of this situation to launch operations, and this has never been stopped.”
The report also said the military had “no clear instructions on how to carry this out”.
It added that “it is obvious that the army was not given any specific orders”, despite “all the information which it received from its allies and partners”.
It said the investigation was set to take another six months.
The Italian government has repeatedly denied it had anything to do with the operation, saying that it had no involvement and that the investigation should be closed.
“The Italian military is not a part of this operation and never was,” Italian Foreign Minister, Federica Mogherini, said in a statement.
The military has been under fire since the operation was launched in 2014.
The UN Security Council called for an investigation after an Amnesty International report said that the Italian navy was responsible for the operation.