March 19, 2011

French fighter jets deployed over Libya (bumped)(Updated: US Tomahawk Cruise Missiles Launched into Libya)

US Missile Strikes on Libya (2).jpg
March 19: Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Barry (DDG 52) launches a Tomahawk missile in support of Operation Odyssey Dawn

It's on...

Tripoli, Libya (CNN) -- French fighters jets soared over Libya on Saturday to counter Moammar Gadhafi's military forces who were intent on destroying the opposition as they pushed into the rebel stronghold of Benghazi.

"Our air force will oppose any aggression by Colonel Gadhafi against the population of Benghazi," said French President Nicolas Sarkozy, speaking after an international, top-level meeting in Paris over the Libyan crisis.

"As of now, our aircraft are preventing planes from attacking the town," he said. "As of now, our aircraft are prepared to intervene against tanks."

I can't believe they haven't taken out Colonel Crazy's air defenses first..

UPDATE by SH: Reuters news flash (via twitter) "French aircraft have destroyed their first target in Libya - military spokesman[]"

UPDATE II by SH: Gadhafi's forces attack Benghazi, "French warplanes , the vanguard of an allied effort to stop Gadhafi, flew into Libyan airspace to stop the attacks"

"It's a grave decision we've had to take," French President Nicolas Sarkozy said in Paris after a closed door meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and British Prime Minister David Cameron.

"Along with our Arab, European and North American partners, France has decided to play its part before history."

President Barack Obama traveling in Brazil on the first leg of a three country trip to Latin America, didn't immediately comment on the assault on Benghazi, or the United Nations-backed military effort to stop it...

UPDATE III by SH: U.S. poised to launch cruise missiles

[2:32 p.m. ET, 9:32 p.m. in Libya] A U.S. defense official said the United States is poised to launch cruise missiles from warships in the Mediterranean Sea, and that these strikes would target Moammar Gadhafi's air defenses. The United States is prepared to "defend its allies flying over Libyan airspace and enforce the no-fly zone," the official said.
UPDATE IV: US Tomahawk cruise missiles have been launched into Libya".
The U.S. Navy fires the first U.S. Tomahawk cruise missiles against Libyan leader's Muammar al-Qaddafi's air defenses Saturday, a military source tells Fox News.

The U.S. military strikes clear the way for European and other planes to enforce a no-fly zone designed to ground Qaddafi's air force and cripple his ability to inflict further violence on rebels, U.S. officials said.

U.S. Tomahawk missiles landed in the area around Tripoli and Misrata, the official said, adding that the action was taken after Gadhafi failed to comply with a cease-fire.

The first part of the multi-phase approach, which is underway, will be to degrade air defenses, CNN's Chris Lawrence reports, citing the Defense Department official. Most of the first strikes will be concentrated around Tripoli and Misrata, specifically to take out his air defenses. Ground forces will be targeted as well because they carry capability to shoot down planes, the official said.

UPDATE V: Getting closer
TRIPOLI (AFP) Bombs were dropped near the Tripoli headquarters of strongman Moamer Kadhafi early Sunday, prompting barrages of anti-aircraft fire from Libyan forces, an AFP reporter said.
UPDATE VI: 'Human shield" erected around Gaddafi compound[Mostly women and children]

UPDATE VII: Further updates will be on Howie's post: Tripoli Under Fire Early Sunday Morning

By Matt Damon at 01:25 PM | Comments |