News / Africa

Anti-Aircraft Fire Erupts Over Tripoli as More Nations Enforce No-Fly Zone

A Danish F-16 fighter-bomber takes off from the NATO airbase in Sigonella, Italy, March 21, 2011
A Danish F-16 fighter-bomber takes off from the NATO airbase in Sigonella, Italy, March 21, 2011

Anti-aircraft fire has erupted over the Libyan capital, Tripoli, with at least one explosion shaking the city as more Western nations joined a coalition enforcing a U.N.-authorized no-fly zone over Libya.

The anti-aircraft fire and explosion were heard in Tripoli after nightfall Monday. Libyan state television said the capital was under a new attack by coalition warplanes.

Earlier, the head of the U.S. military's Africa command said coalition warplanes carried out more patrols in Libyan airspace during the day, with seven nations participating in the mission alongside the United States.

Speaking from his headquarters in Germany, General Carter Ham said the other nations include Belgium, Britain, Canada, Denmark, France, Italy and Spain. He said the focus of the mission, which began with airstrikes on Saturday and Sunday, has now shifted to extending the no-fly zone from eastern Libya to cover Tripoli in the west.  

General Ham said U.S. and British forces also fired 12 Tomahawk missiles in the previous 24 hours at Libyan military targets. He said the goal of the air and missile strikes is to protect Libyan civilians from attacks by Mr. Gadhafi's forces, not to target the Libyan leader.

The U.S. commander also said the coalition has no mandate to provide direct support to Libyan rebels who began an uprising last month aimed at ending Mr. Gadhafi's 42-year rule.

But, he said coalition airstrikes on pro-Gadhafi fighters who advanced on the rebels' eastern stronghold of Benghazi had left the government troops "with little will or capacity to resume offensive operations."

Hundreds of Libyan rebels based in Benghazi launched a counter-offensive Monday, moving south along the coast and retaking the nearby oil port of Zwitinia. The poorly-organized fighters also raced toward the town of Ajdabiya, which they lost to pro-Gadhafi forces last week. But, the rebels came under fire from government troops and were forced to pull back.

In the west, residents of Misrata said government tanks and snipers besieging the rebel-held city fired on opposition protesters Monday, killing at least nine people and wounding more than 50.

Rebels accused government troops of forcing people from neighboring towns to gather in Misrata for a pro-Gadhafi rally, creating a human shield against coalition airstrikes. A Libyan government spokesman said Misrata had been liberated from rebel control later in the day. The rebel and government claims could not be independently verified.

A U.S. military official said a British air strike on the Tripoli compound of Mr. Gadhafi late Sunday targeted his "military command ability." The strike heavily damaged a building inside the complex. There was no word on casualties.

British Prime Minister David Cameron told the nation's parliament Monday that the coalition has "neutralized" Libyan air defenses and made "good progress" in achieving its mission to protect civilians. He also said coalition operations had averted what he called "bloody massacre" of Benghazi residents by Gadhafi loyalists.

U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Washington expects to turn control of the mission in Libya over to its coalition partners in the coming days.

The U.N. Security Council agreed to hold a meeting on Libya on Thursday. Libyan Foreign Minister Musa Kousa had written to the council requesting an emergency session to respond to what he called military aggression against his country. He accused the United States and France of bombing civilian targets in violation of international norms.

Washington and Paris have said there is no evidence of civilian casualties from coalition operations.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

You May Like

FIFA Indictments Put Gold Cup Tournament Under Cloud

Experts say US indictments could lead to charges of other world soccer officials, and lead to major shakeup in sport's governance More

Video Seoul Sponsors Korean Unification Fair

At a recent even in Seoul, border communities promoted benefits of increased cooperation and North Korean defectors shared stories of life since the war More

Video VOA EXCLUSIVE: Iraq President Vows to Fight IS 'Until They Are Killed or We Die'

In wide-ranging interview with VOA Persian service reporter, Fuad Masum describes conflict as new type of fight that will take time to win More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Forced to Return Home, Afghan Refugees Face Increased Hardshipi
X
Ayesha Tanzeem
May 28, 2015 6:48 PM
Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Forced to Return Home, Afghan Refugees Face Increased Hardship

Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Britain Makes Controversial Move to Crack Down on Extremism

Britain is moving to tighten controls on extremist rhetoric, even when it does not incite violence or hatred -- a move that some are concerned might unduly restrict basic freedoms. It is an issue many countries are grappling with as extremist groups gain power in the Middle East, fueled in part by donations and fighters from the West. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Floodwaters Recede in Houston, but Rain Continues

Many parts of Texas are recovering from one of the worst natural disasters to hit the southwestern state. Heavy rains on Monday and early Tuesday caused rivers to swell in eastern and central Texas, washing away homes and killing at least 13 people. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, floodwaters are receding slowly in the country's fourth-largest city, and there likely is to be more rain in the coming days.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Al-Shabab Recruitment Drive Still on In Kenya

The al-Shabab militants that have long battled for control of Somalia also have recruited thousands of young people in Kenya, leaving many families disconsolate. Mohammed Yusuf recently visited the Kenyan town of Isiolo, and met with relatives of those recruited, as well as a many who have helped with the recruiting.
Video

Video US Voters Seek Answers From Presidential Candidates on IS Gains

The growth of the Islamic State militant group in Iraq and Syria comes as the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign kicks off in the Midwest state of Iowa.   As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, voters want to know how the candidates would handle recent militant gains in the Middle East.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Film Festival Looks at Indigenous Peoples, Culture Conflict

A recent Los Angeles film festival highlighted the plight of people caught between two cultures. Mike O'Sullivan has more on the the Garifuna International Film Festival, a Los Angeles forum created by a woman from Central America who wants the world to know more about her culture.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.

VOA Blogs