Sunday, March 20, 2011
West pounds Libya with air strikes
month-old uprising against his rule.
US warships fired 110 Tomahawk cruise missiles into Libya, targeting Qadhafi`s air defence sites, a senior US military official said.
Two days after a UN Security Council resolution authorised military action, French planes carried out an initial attack, destroying several armoured vehicles of Qadhafi`s forces, the French military said.
Libyan media said Western warplanes bombed civilian targets in Tripoli, causing casualties, shortly after France`s launch of the multinational air campaign against Qadhafi.
State television said hundreds of people had gathered at Bab al-Aziziyah, Qadhafi`s Tripoli headquarters, and at the capital`s international airport, ahead of the widely anticipated
“Crowds are forming around the targets identified by
,” the television reported, showing pictures of flag-waving people gathering to serve as human shields. France
Britain also said its forces were in action on Saturday, as Russia`s foreign ministry expressed regret over the armed intervention under UN Resolution 1973 “which was adopted in haste”
According to France`s army chief, a first French air strike took place around 1645 GMT against “a Libyan vehicle clearly identified as belonging to pro-Qadhafi forces”.
Within the next hour, French Rafale and Mirage 2000 fighter jets conducted three other strikes, destroying armoured vehicles of the Libyan forces in the eastern region of
, the rebels` stronghold, the military said. Benghazi
The operations are to continue through the night, the military said
In the rebel camp, celebratory gunfire and honking of car horns broke out in Al-Marj, 100km from Benghazi, to welcome the start of military operations against Qadhafi, correspondents said.As thousands fled Benghazi amid an assault by Qadhafi loyalists earlier on Saturday, French President Nicolas Sarkozy told a summit of world leaders in Paris that his country`s fighters were poised to attack. But Sarkozy said Qadhafi could still avoid the worst if he complied with the Security Council resolution by implementing a
ceasefire to allow the diplomatic door to reopen