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Coalition extending no fly zone over Libya

 Navy Vice Adm. Bill Gortney, director of the Joint Staff, gives an operational update concerning Libya, at the Pentagon in Washington, Sunday, March ...
 U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates speaks about Libya as he briefs reporters on board a military plane en route to St. Petersburg, Russia, Sunday, M...
 Libyan men celebrates on a destroyed tank belonging to the forces of Moammar Gadhafi in the outskirts of Benghazi, eastern Libya, Sunday, March 20, 2...

US Libya Military

Navy Vice Adm. Bill Gortney, director of the Joint Staff, gives an operational update concerning Libya, at the Pentagon in Washington, Sunday, March ...

US Gates Russia

U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates speaks about Libya as he briefs reporters on board a military plane en route to St. Petersburg, Russia, Sunday, M...

Mideast Libya

Libyan men celebrates on a destroyed tank belonging to the forces of Moammar Gadhafi in the outskirts of Benghazi, eastern Libya, Sunday, March 20, 2...

International forces continued air strikes against Libya on Monday, moving to expand the U.N.-approved no-fly zone after turning back government troops near the eastern rebel stronghold of Benghazi, the U.S. commander in the region said.
A coalition of nations was trying to extend the zone southward and westward, eventually to the capital, Tripoli, said Gen. Carter Ham, head of U.S. Africa Command.
"With the growing capabilities of the coalition, I anticipate the no-fly zone will soon extend to Brega, Misurata, and then to Tripoli," he told Pentagon reporters in a video conference from his headquarters in Germany.
He said that would cover "about 1,000 kilometers (620 miles), so it's a pretty wide area."
In the midday news conference, Ham said that during the previous 24 hours, U.S. and British forces launched 12 Tomahawk land attack missiles, targeting regime command-and-control facilities and a missile facility and attacking one air defense site that already had been attacked.
The strikes followed a weekend of punishing air attacks aimed at preventing Moammar Gadhafi's forces from killing civilians seeking his removal.
"Air attacks have succeeded in stopping regime ground forces from advancing to Benghazi, and we are now seeing ground forces moving southward from Benghazi," Ham said. "Through a variety of reports, we know that regime ground forces that were in the vicinity of Benghazi now possess little will or capability to resume offensive operations."
Ham said he has little indication of the whereabouts of Ghadafi, and locating or attacking him is not a mission of coalition military forces. He said, however, that the possibility of Gadhafi using surrogates to launch a terror attack against the United States or Europe is "a very, very legitimate concern."
He said the U.S. already is taking a smaller role in the mission. Whereas about 50 percent of the approximately 60 air missions flown on Sunday were by U.S. pilots, the "overwhelming" share were by non-U.S. pilots on Monday, he said.


Updated : 2021-04-14 11:01 GMT+08:00