According to the AP report Italy: Soldiers Deployed to Fight Street Crime [Aug. 4th, 2008] :
Hundreds of soldiers were deployed Monday in cities across Italy as part of government measures to fight street crime. In Rome, an initial 400 men and women were stationed at subway and railway stations and at an immigrant center, the Defense Ministry said. They were not expected to be deployed immediately in the capital's historic center. In Milan, some 150 soldiers were patrolling the Duomo cathedral and sensitive sites such as the U.S. consulate and the city's synagogue. Soldiers were also deployed in Naples, Bologna and Palermo, Italian reports said.More soldiers will be deployed in coming days, reaching an overall total of 3,000, said Lt. Col. Mario Busi of the Defense Ministry.Notice how this article deals gingerly with the immigration connection:
Premier Silvio Berlusconi's conservative government had proposed the measure as part of a security package that also toughens rules for illegal immigrants, whom some Italians link to crime. The measure, recently approved by parliament, remains in effect for six months.Imagine that, "some Italians" are linking illegal immigrants to crime! The AP article of course steers clear of making that link.
When I was deployed to Iraq in 2005 I served four months as a liaison with the Italian Army. It was an honor to serve with the Italian soldiers, and I still correspond from time to time with some of them. In 2005 the Italians had about 3,000 troops in Iraq, about the same amount of personnel they are deploying now in Italy.
Here's my article about the Italian military in Iraq. Maybe some of the Italian soldiers I served with are part of this new deployment.