Missiles hit 20 Libyan targets: US Military

Missile strikes launched by US and Britain as part of a bid to cripple Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi's air defenses.


Agencies March 20, 2011

BENGHAZI/LIBYA:


Missile strikes launched by the United States and Britain as part of a bid to cripple Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi's air defenses hit 20 of 22 targets, the U.S. military said on Sunday.

The missile strikes on Saturday caused 'various levels of damage' at 20 of 22 sites, centered around Libyan air defenses, said Lieutenant Commander James Stockman, a spokesman at U.S. Africa Command. Possible damage at two other sites was being assessed, he said.

Stockman also confirmed that three U.S. stealth bombers took part in airstrikes on Libya early on Sunday.

Libya to give weapons to 1m people: state media

Libya's government has begun distributing arms to more than one million people and will complete the operation within hours, the state news agency reported on Sunday.

Jana news agency quoted sources in Libya's defence ministry as saying they "expected the operation to end in the next hours to arm more than a million men and women."

19 US planes in Libya raid Sunday

Nineteen US planes, including three B2 stealth bombers, took part in early morning raids Sunday on targets in Libya, the US Africa Command, based in Germany, told AFP.

"What we are doing, with our coalition partners, is the initial phase of an operation to try to create the conditions to be able to set up a no-fly zone," spokesman Kenneth Fidler said.

The "very early morning" raids also involved F15s and F16s jet fighter planes and targeted Libyan "integrated air defence systems," he said.

He also put the number of Tomahawk missiles fired by the United States and Britain on Saturday at 124.

Top US military commander Michael Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said earlier that the initial part of an international operation to enforce a no-fly zone over Libya "has been successful."

He said that as a result forces loyal to Moamer Qaddafi were "no longer marching on Benghazi," the eastern rebel-held city.

Western forces pound Libya

US warships and allied planes have gone into action to stop Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi’s forces from attacking rebel-held Benghazi, US and French officials said on Saturday.


The first shots in the UN-mandated intervention in Libya came at around 1645 GMT when a French aircraft destroyed a military vehicle, French defence ministry and army officials said on Saturday. Several armoured vehicles have since been destroyed. The air operation involved around 20 planes.

Later a US warship, one of two naval destroyers and three US submarines deployed in the Mediterranean, launched cruise missiles against Tripoli.

At the same time hundreds of Qaddafi loyalists massed at his Bab al-Aziziyah headquarters and at the international airport, state television said. The leader’s compound was ringed with pick-up trucks mounted with anti-aircraft guns and some were also parked inside the grounds. Earlier Qaddafi’s troops pushed into the outskirts of Benghazi.

In Tripoli, several loud blasts were heard east of the capital and balls of fire could be seen on the horizon, witnesses told AFP.

“Those taking part agreed to put in place all necessary means, especially military, to enforce the decisions of the United Nations Security Council,” French President Nicolas Sarkozy said. He said the operation supported by France, Britain, the United States and Canada, and backed by Arab states, would continue unless the Libyan leader ceased fire.

Military action could be halted at any time if Qaddafi stopped his forces from  attacking, wSarkozy said. “Colonel Qaddafi has made this happen,” British Prime Minister David Cameron told reporters after the meeting. “He has lied to the international community, he has promised a ceasefire, he has broken that ceasefire.”

Qaddafi has said Western powers had no right to intervene. “This is injustice, this is clear aggression,” government spokesman Mussa Ibrahim quoted Qaddafi as saying in a letter to France, Britain and the United Nations. “You will regret it if you take a step towards interfering in our internal affairs.”

The Libyan government blamed the rebels, who it says are members of al Qaeda, for breaking a ceasefire around Benghazi.

In Paris, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Washington will deploy its “unique capabilities” as part of the military operation against Qaddafi. “America has unique capabilities” to help enforce UN Security Council Resolution 1973 authorising military action, Clinton said. Defence Secretary Robert Gates has postponed a trip to Russia at the last minute to monitor developments in Libya, a senior US official said.

US and British ships and submarines fired more than 110 Tomahawk cruise missiles at Libyan targets to take out their air defenses, a senior US military official said.

Vice Admiral Bill Gortney, director of the US military’s Joint Staff, said no US aircraft were flying over Libya at this time.

“Civilian targets are being bombed by the ‘Crusader’ enemy fighter planes in Tripoli,” state television said. State news agency Jana said there were “civilian casualties as a result of this aggression.”

COMMENTS (43)

Muhammad | 10 years ago | Reply http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/0,1518,752310,00.html who's the monster now? Killing innocent people, then apologizing, then talking about peace and humanity and then start killing again somewhere else. Afghanistan, Iraq, now Libya and then where? Still Muslims are terrorists. Thats the bubble 90% of Americans live in.
Dr. Mohammad Afzal Khan | 10 years ago | Reply @Fahd hassan: 'Any one who has seen US from within.....................' Very true my dear. But what can you to the staunch believers in US? When I came back after a long stay in the US I told my fellows in Pakistan, "America is not what you think it is.". Nobody believed me. There is certainly nodemocracy in US........ Penatagon rules the US and the visible government is a hoax. They want oil from the Gulf...........all of it. My prediction is.............. as they will try to grab the oil Russia will jump in and........ World War 3 will start! That is going to happen unless the vultures give it up and retun home...............Could we make them do just that?
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