The Italian government, angry about continuing threats from Libya and the recent discovery of a web of suspicious Libyan activities on strategic Italian islands, tonight expelled eight more Libyan officials here for activities "incompatible" with their official status.

The new expulsion orders against three Libyan diplomats assigned to the Libyan People's Bureau, or embassy, in Rome and five other Libyan officials working with the bureau or its consulate in Milan were communicated to Libyan Ambassador Abdel Rahman Shalgan in an official note tonight after he had been hastily summoned to the Italian Foreign Ministry.

The Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera reported that Italy has prepared 20 international arrest warrants for Syrians alleged to have been involved in the Dec. 27 raid on the Rome airport that killed 17 persons, The Associated Press reported. Story on Page A28.

Today's expulsions bring to 19 the number of Libyan officials ordered to leave Italy since European Community foreign ministers decided to cut back on Libyan representation and activities in Europe last month. The United States had urged that Libya be isolated and punished for allegedly supporting and directing international terrorism.

While the Italian Foreign Ministry officially presented the expulsions in the light of last month's EC decision, senior Italian officials have indicated privately that they are part of a much larger crackdown on Libyan activities, presence and investments in Italy. The Libyan presence is documented in a recent confidential Secret Service report on the activities of almost 50 Libyan, or Libyan-supported, companies operating in Italy and the estimated 3,500 Libyans believed by authorities to be living in the country.

The confidential 10-page report, now being analyzed by Prime Minister Bettino Craxi and a team of investigating magistrates tracking Libyan links to terrorism in the country, has raised questions in the government about the ultimate goal of a web of Libyan investments and activities on the islands of Sardinia, Sicily and Pantelleria just to the north of the island of Lampedusa.

The report details the presence in Italy of long known Libyan financial institutions -- such as the Libyan Arab Foreign Investments Company, which owns 15 percent of Fiat, the automaking firm that is Italy's leading company -- and their stakes in a number of Italian banks, holding companies and one recently purchased gasoline pump distributorship.

Among the 49 companies listed are a hodgepodge of enterprises on the islands: publishing houses, radio and television stations, import-export houses and real estate companies suspected of having ties to Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi and of being separatist oriented.

The uncertain nature of the work of many of these companies, with their sometimes unusually large staffs of Libyans, located on islands where some of the most sensitive U.S.-run NATO installations are located, has begun to worry Italian officials as relations have cooled between Rome and Tripoli following Libya's missile attack on Lampedusa, Italy's southernmost island, on April 15.

"Frankly we are just at the beginning of our investigation of all these Libyan operations," said one close aide to Craxi, who showed the report to The Washington Post on condition that he not be identified. "But we have had to ask ourselves just what they are really about and whether they are legitimately up to what they say they are. What we do know is that there are just too many Libyans out there doing things we are not at all certain about."

Among the three radio and television stations owned wholly or partly by the Libyans is one in Rome, the Teleradio Sicilia International, that beams only Libyan-scripted news in Arabic to North Africa. Another, the Voce Sarda, has links to the tiny Sardinian separatist Italy Expels 8 Libyans In Growing Crackdown Tripoli's Activities Detailed in Report By Loren Jenkins Washington Post Foreign Service

ROME, May 23 -- The Italia

The Italian government, angry about continuing threats from Libya and the recent discovery of a web of suspicious Libyan activities on strategic Italian islands, tonight expelled eight more Libyan officials here for activities "incompatible" with their official status.

The new expulsion orders against three Libyan diplomats assigned to the Libyan People's Bureau, or embassy, in Rome and five other Libyan officials working with the bureau or its consulate in Milan were communicated to Libyan Ambassador Abdel Rahman Shalgan in an official note tonight after he had been hastily summoned to the Italian Foreign Ministry.

The Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera reported that Italy has prepared 20 international arrest warrants for Syrians alleged to have been involved in the Dec. 27 raid on the Rome airport that killed 17 persons, The Associated Press reported. Story on Page A28.

Today's expulsions bring to 19 the number of Libyan officials ordered to leave Italy since European Community foreign ministers decided to cut back on Libyan representation and activities in Europe last month. The United States had urged that Libya be isolated and punished for allegedly supporting and directing international terrorism.

While the Italian Foreign Ministry officially presented the expulsions in the light of last month's EC decision, senior Italian officials have indicated privately that they are part of a much larger crackdown on Libyan activities, presence and investments in Italy. The Libyan presence is documented in a recent confidential Secret Service report on the activities of almost 50 Libyan, or Libyan-supported, companies operating in Italy and the estimated 3,500 Libyans believed by authorities to be living in the country.

The confidential 10-page report, now being analyzed by Prime Minister Bettino Craxi and a team of investigating magistrates tracking Libyan links to terrorism in the country, has raised questions in the government about the ultimate goal of a web of Libyan investments and activities on the islands of Sardinia, Sicily and Pantelleria just to the north of the island of Lampedusa.

The report details the presence in Italy of long known Libyan financial institutions -- such as the Libyan Arab Foreign Investments Company, which owns 15 percent of Fiat, the automaking firm that is Italy's leading company -- and their stakes in a number of Italian banks, holding companies and one recently purchased gasoline pump distributorship.

Among the 49 companies listed are a hodgepodge of enterprises on the islands: publishing houses, radio and television stations, import-export houses and real estate companies suspected of having ties to Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi and of being separatist oriented.

The uncertain nature of the work of many of these companies, with their sometimes unusually large staffs of Libyans, located on islands where some of the most sensitive U.S.-run NATO installations are located, has begun to worry Italian officials as relations have cooled between Rome and Tripoli following Libya's missile attack on Lampedusa, Italy's southernmost island, on April 15.

"Frankly we are just at the beginning of our investigation of all these Libyan operations," said one close aide to Craxi, who showed the report to The Washington Post on condition that he not be identified. "But we have had to ask ourselves just what they are really about and whether they are legitimately up to what they say they are. What we do know is that there are just too many Libyans out there doing things we are not at all certain about."

Among the three radio and television stations owned wholly or partly by the Libyans is one in Rome, the Teleradio Sicilia International, that beams only Libyan-scripted news in Arabic to North Africa. Another, the Voce Sarda, has links to the tiny Sardinian separatist movement, which at least one Italian court investigation has maintained was encouraged by Libyan diplomats operating out of their consulate in Sicily five years ago. Several publishing houses seem devoted only to printing and distributing Qaddafi's social and political theories contained in his Green Book.

Two Libyan-backed companies on the island of Pantelleria are believed to have been quietly trying to amass a large real estate holding while claiming to be planning tourist developments, according to Italian officials.

Even before this detailed, although possibly not exhaustive, list of Libyan activities in Italy was compiled by the Italian military counterespionage organization, the government had begun to break from its traditional accommodating attitude toward Qaddafi.

In recent weeks, Craxi has made it clear that he has lost all patience with his radical Arab neighbor, particularly after Libya's missile attack on Lampedusa.

The Libyan government said the missiles, which fell into the sea short of their target, were fired against a U.S. Coast Guard-manned naval communications station on the tiny island in retaliation for the U.S. bombing of Libya.

Although senior Italian officials maintain that Craxi had decided there was no hope for continuing normal relations with Qaddafi's Libya as early as last January, when the Libyan news agency, JANA, hailed as "heroes" the four Palestinians who attacked Rome's Leonardo da Vinci international airport Dec. 27, it took the missile attack to put Libya irrevocably beyond the diplomatic pale in Craxi's mind. Nevertheless, some ministers in his coalition government, specifically Foreign Minister Giulio Andreotti, have continued to push for a conciliatory line toward Libya.

"With Libya we are in full crisis," the Socialist prime minister declared early this month. In a speech May 10 in Genoa he went further: "We will retaliate with our military means to any threat of attack."

That reference was to a continuing number of statements from Tripoli that they would attack any nation harboring U.S. military facitilies or supporting U.S. policy against Libya in the Mediterranean.

Italy, a key NATO ally of the United States, is the seat of NATO's southern command, provides the home base for the U.S. 6th Fleet in the Mediterranean and allows the United States to maintain a cruise missile base on Sicily and an important submarine installation. It clearly has become a target of Libya, despite the two nations' close economic relations since Qaddafi took power in a coup d'etat 17 years ago.

Officials here said privately that the current crackdown is merely in the opening stages. It did not happen earlier, they said, because of Italy's large economic and traditional presence in Libya -- a former Italian colony -- fear of losing the more than $650 million owed to Italian companies by the Libyan government and the presence, until only a few months ago, of about 15,000 Italians in Libya.

Italy, however, gradually has changed its mind about the dangers of retaliating against Libya. Rome has encouraged Italian workers to come home, and now there are fewer than 2,000 still working in Libya.

They have also concluded, as a result of the intelligence study, that Libya easily has as large an investment in Italy as Italy has in Libya.