News / USA

NATO Sends Helicopters on Libyan Attacks For First Time

Handout photo provided by Ecpad shows a Gazelle attack helicopter on the deck of the French helicopter carrier "Tonnerre", on June 4, 2011, off the Libyan coast
Handout photo provided by Ecpad shows a Gazelle attack helicopter on the deck of the French helicopter carrier "Tonnerre", on June 4, 2011, off the Libyan coast

NATO boosted its bombardment of Libya Saturday, for the first time sending attack helicopters on low-altitude missions against military installations loyal to Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi.

NATO said British Apache helicopters destroyed a radar site and an armed checkpoint in their first deployment since British Prime Minister David Cameron approved their use a week ago. The Apaches are each equipped with 16 Hellfire missiles that skim low across the landscape toward targets that are pre-set by radar before the missiles are launched. French Tiger helicopters are also being readied for NATO use in Libya.

The commander of NATO's forces in Libya, Canadian Lieutenant General Charles Bouchard, said the successful assault "demonstrates the unique capabilities" of the attack helicopters. The use of lower-flying helicopters for attacks could diminish the possibility of civilian casualties, although they also could be vulnerable to strikes by surface-to-air missiles.

In recent days, rebels trying to oust Gadhafi have been waiting for use of the attack helicopters. One rebel leader in Misrata, Fatih Bashagha, said the fighters are happy about their use, and other rebels said it showed a renewed NATO commitment to assisting them.

The increase in the military campaign came even as new diplomatic efforts were seen in the effort to get Mr. Gadhafi to give up power.

China says its ambassador to Qatar has met with the head of Libya's rebel council, the first time China has revealed such contacts. Chinese officials said they stand by their position that the Libyan crisis should be resolved politically and that the country's future must be decided by its people.

Also, Russia is sending a special presidential representative, Mikhail Margelov, to Benghazi, to meet with the rebels. French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe said Friday that Gadhafi is "increasingly isolated." Juppe also said that France is working with those close to the Libyan leader to persuade him to leave.

For the last several nights, NATO warplanes have bombed targets in Tripoli, including Mr. Gadhafi's sprawling residential and command compound. Mr. Gadhafi has rarely been seen in public since a NATO airstrike killed one of his sons in April.

On Friday, United Nations officials criticized Qatar's forcible deportation of a Libyan woman who says she was gang-raped by troops loyal to Gadhafi.  

Officials with the U.N. refugee agency said Imad al-Obeidi had been awaiting resettlement as a refugee and that UNHCR was in the process of preparing papers for her departure from Qatar to a third country. The officials said al-Obeidi's deportation to Benghazi is against international law.

State Department spokesman Mark Toner said the U.S. is concerned for al-Obeidi's safety and has been working to ensure she finds "appropriate asylum." Toner said U.S. officials have spoken to her in recent days.

Al-Obeidi burst into a Tripoli hotel in March to tell foreign journalists she had been raped by government troops, saying she was targeted because she is from Benghazi. Her rape claim could not be independently verified.

Libyan authorities have called al-Obeidi a drunk, a prostitute and a thief.

Western governments say they believe that, through a combination of diplomatic pressure and military action, they are wearing down Mr. Gadhafi's ability to control Libya.

However, the U.S. role in the conflict has been controversial at home, with the House of Representatives on Friday passing a non-binding resolution calling on President Barack Obama to provide a compelling rationale for the American military involvement in Libya. The White House called the resolution "unnecessary and unhelpful."

You May Like

At Khmer Rouge Court, Long-Awaited Verdict Approaches

First phase of trial, which is coming to an end, has focused on forced exodus of Phnom Penh in 1975 - and now many are hopeful justice will be served More

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities More

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

Downing of Malaysian airliner, allegations of cross-border shelling move information war in war-torn country to a new level 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.
Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
July 31, 2014 8:13 PM
The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict in Gaza, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities. Probably the most important destination is the local bakery. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Gaza City.
Video

Video US-Funded Program Offers Honduran Children Alternative to Illegal Immigration

President Obama and Central American leaders recently agreed to come up with a plan to address poverty and crime in the region that is fueling the surge of young migrants trying to illegally enter the United States. VOA’s Brian Padden looks at one such program in Honduras - funded in part by the United States - which gives street kids not only food and safety but a chance for a better life without, crossing the border.
Video

Video 'Fab Lab' Igniting Revolution in Kenya

The University of Nairobi’s Science and Technology Park is banking on 3-D prototyping to spark a manufacturing revolution in the country. Lenny Ruvaga has more for from Nairobi's so-called “FabLab” for VOA.
Video

Video Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelter

Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Rapid Spread of Ebola in West Africa Prompts Global Alert

Across West Africa, health officials are struggling to keep up with what the World Health Organization describes as the worst ebola outbreak on record. The virus has killed hundreds of people this year. U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders are watching the developments closely as they weigh what actions, if any, are needed to help contain the disease.
Video

Video Michelle Obama: Young Africans Need to Embrace Women's Rights

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama urged some of Africa's best and brightest to advocate for women's rights in their home countries. As VOA's Pam Dockins explains, Obama spoke to some 500 participants of the Young African Leaders Initiative, a six-week U.S.-based training and development program.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.
Video

Video Study: Latino Students Most Segregated in California

Even though legal school segregation ended in the United States 60 years ago, one study finds segregation still occurs in the U.S. based on income and race. The University of California Los Angeles Civil Rights Project finds that students in California are more segregated by race than ever before, especially Latinos. Elizabeth Lee reports for VOA from Los Angeles.

AppleAndroid