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Target deep within Libya hit; diplomatic efforts continue

Target deep within Libya hit; U.A.E. agrees to send 12 fighter jets

• Western-led airstrikes pounded the Libyan capital of Tripoli and other targets, and explosions followed by barrages of artillery fire shook the city throughout the night.

• Gadhafi loyalists claimed a large number of civilian casualties and showed the Reuters news agency bodies that they said were those of civilian and military victims of airstrikes in the Tripoli suburb of Tajoura. But a group of journalists traveling to Tajoura to verify the claims was stopped and detained. So far, Libyan authorities have not substantiated a single case of a civilian injured or killed or damage to civilian infrastructure caused by the bombings.

• A French fighter jet fired on a Libyan warplane detected by reconnaissance aircraft above Misrata, the French Defense Ministry said. The plane was hit by a missile shortly after landing at a nearby military airbase.

• In Misrata, rebels say they continue to battle a handful of Gadhafi gunmen but the armored units and artillery surrounding the city appeared to have pulled back, their supply and communication lines cut off by the allied airstrikes. A rebel spokesman told Reuters that their fighters had killed 30 snipers and destroyed staircases of buildings being used by the gunmen, stranding them there.

• Col. Ahmed Omar Bani, a rebel spokesman in Benghazi, said some government fighters in the frontline city of Ajdabiya had lost contact with their commanders and were negotiating to withdraw and head toward government-controlled territory.

• French airstrikes hit the military compound at Juffra.

• French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe said action against Gadhafi's forces would last days or possibly weeks, but not months. He told RTL radio that in addition to protecting civilians, the mission "is also about putting Gadhafi's opponents, who are fighting for democracy and freedom, in a situation of taking back the advantage."

•A second Arab country announced that it would send fighter jets to help enforce the no-fly zone. The United Arab Emirates pledged 12 aircraft, joining Qatar in the mission. The Obama administration has been eager to enlist Middle Eastern states to counter perceptions of Western powers attacking an Arab state.

Target deep within Libya hit; diplomatic efforts continue 03/24/11 [Last modified: Thursday, March 24, 2011 10:24pm]
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