News / Africa

Allied Warplanes Strike First Libyan Targets

A Canadian CF-18A fighter plane prepares to land at the Birgi NATO Airbase in Trapani in the southern Italian island of Sicily, March 19, 2011
A Canadian CF-18A fighter plane prepares to land at the Birgi NATO Airbase in Trapani in the southern Italian island of Sicily, March 19, 2011
TEXT SIZE - +

France has taken the lead in enforcing a U.N. Security Council resolution  after French planes attacked at least four tanks belonging to forces loyal to Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi.  

Earlier Saturday, Mr. Gadhafi sent urgent messages to world leaders, claiming that his country is fighting al-Qaida and that the United Nations resolution on Libya was invalid.

French planes on Saturday attacked military targets, including at least 4 tanks, belonging to forces loyal to Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi. French TV reported that the Libyan tanks were attacked because they were "threatening civilian targets."

Pro-Gadhafi forces shelled targets inside the main rebel-held city of Benghazi throughout the day Saturday. Both al Arabiya TV and al Jazeera TV, quoting eyewitnesses, said tanks loyal to Mr. Gadhafi had entered Benghazi.

In another development,  Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced the formation of a naval blockade near Libya.

In Paris, western diplomats held a summit at Paris’ Elysee Palace to discuss military action in Libya. French President Nicholas Sarkozy spoke after the meeting, indicating that French, Arab and other western states had begun to enforce a no-fly zone near Benghazi, but that Colonel Gadhafi could still comply with U.N. Security Council demands.

He said (the West) is intervening in Libya according to the U.N. Security Council mandate with Arab League approval in order to protect the Libyan people from the murderous folly of a regime that has lost all legitimacy by assassinating its own people. The Libyan people he adds must be able to chose their own destiny. He stresses that there is still time for Mr. Gadhafi to respect the demands of the international community, at which point diplomatic activity will resume.

In the Libyan capital Tripoli, government spokesman Ibrahim Moussa told reporters that Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi had sent urgent messages to world leaders, including U.S. President Barack Obama, calling a U.N. Security Council resolution on Libya illegal:

He said that Mr. Gadhafi wrote that the Libyan people support him and he is ready to die for his people. He claims that Libya is fighting al- Qaida’s North African branch (AQAM) and no one else. He asks Mr. Obama what he would do, if al-Qaida captured and took control of an American city? He goes on to say that the U.N. Security Council resolution is illegal and unjust, because it infringes on the U.N. charter, which forbids meddling in a country’s internal affairs. He adds that Libya is not targeting civilians and asks outside observers to come and confirm this.

In Benghazi, former interior minister Abdel Fattah Younes, now a top rebel leader told al Jazeera TV that Gadhafi tanks were "beaten back by rebel fighters using rocket-propelled grenades."

Early Saturday a warplane belonging to rebel forces was shot down over Benghazi, crashing in a ball of smoke and flames. Rebel leader Younes confirmed that pro-Gadhafi gunners downed the plane but that the pilot ejected safely.

Arab satellite TV channels showed images of civilian homes damaged by shelling inside the city. Numerous casualties were reported. Rounds of automatic rifle fire crackled into the air throughout the day, punctuated by the intermittent sounds of explosions.

Amid the fighting, hundreds of civilian vehicles were seen fleeing Benghazi towards Tobruk and the Egyptian border. Witnesses at the Egyptian border post of Salloum saw scores of Libyans, including women and children, who had entered Egypt.

Witnesses reported that pro-Gadhafi forces also attacked the rebel-held western Libyan towns of Zentan, Nalout and Misrata. Tanks and field artillery reportedly pounded all three cities.

Follow our Middle East reports on Twitter
and discuss them on our Facebook page.

You May Like

Algerians Vote in Presidential Election

There were few media reports of protests and clashes around the country, but so far no significant violence More

Sharks More Evolved than Previously Thought

The discovery could “profoundly affect our understanding of evolutionary history” More

Pakistan Military Asked to Protect Polio Workers

Request comes as authorities say a Taliban ban on vaccinations in 2012 and deadly attacks on anti-polio teams have prevented thousands of children from getting inoculated 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.
Google Buys Drone Companyi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
George Putic
April 15, 2014
In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ray Bonneville Sings the Blues and More on New CD

Singer/songwriter Ray Bonneville has released a new CD called “Easy Gone” with music that reflects his musical and personal journey from French-speaking Canada to his current home in Austin,Texas. The eclectic artist’s fan base extends from Texas to various parts of North America and Europe. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin.
Video

Video Millions Labor in Pakistan's Informal Economy

The World Bank says that in Pakistan, roughly 70 percent work in the so-called informal sector, a part of the economy that is unregulated and untaxed. VOA's Sharon Behn reports from Islamabad on how the informal sector impact's the Pakistani economy.
Video

Video Passover Celebrates Liberation from Bondage

Jewish people around the world are celebrating Passover, a commemoration of their liberation from slavery in Egypt more than 3,300 years ago. According to scripture, God helped the Jews, led by Moses, escape bondage in Egypt and cross the Red Sea into the desert. Zlatica Hoke reports that the story of the Jewish Exodus resonates with other people trying to escape slave-like conditions.
Video

Video Police Pursue Hate Crime Charges Against Kansas Shooting Suspect

Prosecutors are sifting through the evidence in the wake of Sunday’s shootings in a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri that left three people dead. A suspect in the shootings taken into custody is a white supremacist. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, he was well-known to law enforcement agencies and human rights groups alike.
Video

Video In Eastern Ukraine, Pro-unity Activists Emerge from Shadows

Amid the pro-Russian uprisings in eastern Ukraine, there is a large body of activists who support Ukrainian unity and reject Russian intervention. Their activities have remained largely underground, but they are preparing to take on their pro-Moscow opponents, as Henry Ridgwell reports from the eastern city of Donetsk.
Video

Video Basket Maker’s Skills Have World Reach

A prestigious craft show in the U.S. capital offers one-of-a-kind creations by more than 120 artists working in a variety of media. As VOA’s Julie Taboh reports from Washington, one artist lucky enough to be selected says sharing her skills with women overseas is just as significant.
Video

Video UN Report Urges Speedier Action to Avoid Climate Disaster

A new United Nations report says the world must switch from fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources to control the effects of climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released the report (Sunday) following a meeting of scientists and government representatives in Berlin. The comprehensive review follows two recent IPCC reports that detail the certainty of climate change, its impacts and in this most recent report what to do about it. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble has the details.
AppleAndroid