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Italian troops have begun patrolling cities as part of a government campaign to combat crime and boost security.
Some 3,000 soldiers will be deployed over the next week in major cities including Milan, Rome and Naples.
They are patrolling alongside police officers and guarding high-profile tourist sites and embassies, as well as immigrant holding centres
''This is not a militarisation of cities but a clear response to the perceived demand for greater security,"
Defence Minister Ignazio La Russa said that after six months the government would "make an evaluation to see whether it has worked and should be extended to other cities". ''This is not a militarisation of cities but a clear response to the perceived demand for greater security," he said last week.