domingo, 20 de março de 2011

Gaddafi vows 'long war' in Libya

burning vehicles near Benghazi The road outside Benghazi is littered with the remains of government vehicles
Col Muammar Gaddafi says Libya will fight a "long war" after Western air strikes against his forces to protect rebel-held areas.
Military officials are said to be assessing the damage after at least 110 missiles were fired by the US and UK.
After an attack by French planes, some 14 bodies were lying near destroyed military vehicles outside the rebel-held city of Benghazi, Reuters says.
The raids were "successful", US military chief Adm Mike Mullen said.
The strikes "took out" Libya's air-defence systems, he told NBC's Meet the Press programme, saying a no-fly zone was now effectively in place.
US fighter planes and B-2 stealth bombers were also involved in the overnight raids early on Sunday, Pentagon officials said.
Cruise missiles hit at least 20 air-defence sites in the capital, Tripoli, and the western city of Misrata, they said.
Libyan TV has broadcast footage it says showed some of the 150 people wounded in the attacks. It said 48 people had been killed.


The capital this morning is relatively calm, with traffic moving around as normal, although the atmosphere is quite tense.
At 0230 there was a loud barrage of anti-aircraft fire, but I could hear no sounds of incoming ordnance, and apart from that there's been no audible sign of the war here in Tripoli.
That is not to say targets on the periphery of the city have not been hit. State TV says 48 civilians have been killed and more than 100 wounded. Last night the speaker of the parliament said hospitals were filling up and that there had been a bombardment of a civilian part of the city, but there's been no independent confirmation of that.
We're reporting under restricted circumstances and can't go out independently. It's easy to find people swearing undying loyalty to Col Gaddafi - and there's no doubting their sincerity - but you wonder what's in the heads of the many millions who do not take part in these angry demonstrations of support for the leader.
There was no independent confirmation of the deaths and UK Finance Minister George Osborne told the BBC that such claims should be treated with caution as the military was striving to avoid civilian casualties.
Adm Mullen also said he had not received any reports of civilian deaths or injuries.
BBC defence correspondent Jonathan Marcus says coalition military planners will be urgently studying satellite and other reconnaissance imagery to determine how much damage has been done to Col Gaddafi's air defences and to see if some targets may have to be hit again.
He says they will also be monitoring the activities of Libyan government ground forces near key populated areas like Benghazi and Misrata, with any offensive action on their part bringing down urgent air strikes.
A rebel spokesman in Misrata told the BBC that pro-Gaddafi forces had launched fresh attacks on Sunday with heavy shelling in the city.
Inch by inch "We promise you a long, drawn-out war with no limits," Col Gaddafi said in a phone call to Libyan state TV on Sunday morning.
He said Western forces had no right to attack Libya, which had done nothing to them.
"We will fight inch by inch," he said while a sculpture of a golden fist crushing a US jet was being shown.
He earlier said he would open arms depots to the people to defend Libya and described the attacks as "crusader aggression".
The UN Security Council has approved the use of force to protect civilians.
In the early hours of Sunday morning, heavy bursts of anti-aircraft fire arced into the sky above Tripoli and several explosions were heard.
Sources in Tripoli told BBC Arabic that the attacks on the city had so far targeted the eastern areas of Sawani, Airport Road, and Ghasheer. These are all areas believed to host military bases.
The Western forces began their action on Saturday, after Libyan government forces attacked the main rebel-held city of Benghazi - Col Gaddafi's allies accused the rebels of breaking the ceasefire:
  • A French plane fired the first shots against Libyan government targets at 1645 GMT on Saturday, destroying military vehicles near Benghazi, according to a military spokesman
  • At least 110 Tomahawk cruise missiles were fired early on Sunday morning from US destroyers and submarines, said a Pentagon official
  • A British submarine and Tornado jets fired missiles at Libyan military targets, the UK Ministry of Defence said
  • Hundreds of Col Gaddafi's supporters gathered at his Bab al-Aziziyah palace and the international airport to serve as human shields, state TV said
  • France has denied Libyan claims to have shot down a French plane
  • A naval blockade against Libya is being put in place.
"It's a first phase of a multi-phase operation" to enforce the UN resolution, said US Navy Vice-Adm William E Gortney.
The BBC's Kevin Connolly, in the rebel-held eastern city of Tobruk, says that once the air-defence systems are taken out, combat aircraft can patrol Libyan airspace more widely and it will then become clear to what extent they will attack Col Gaddafi's ground forces.
This will determine the outcome of the campaign, he adds.
Russia and China, which abstained from the UN Security Council resolution approving the use of force in Libya, have urged all parties to stop fighting, as has the African Union.
'Legal and right'

Coalition forces

  • US: Firing guided missiles from USS Barry and USS Stout; providing amphibious warships, and command-and-control ship USS Mount Whitney
  • France: Carried out mission with at least 12 warplanes including Mirage fighters and Rafale jets; deploying aircraft carrier, warships
  • UK: Providing Typhoon and Tornado jet fighters; surveillance planes; HMS Westminster and HMS Cumberland; submarines
  • Italy: Nato base at Naples understood to be central hub; other Mediterranean bases made available
  • Canada: Providing six F-18 fighter jets and 140 personnel
US President Barack Obama, speaking during a visit to Brazil, said the US was taking "limited military action" as part of a "broad coalition".
"We cannot stand idly by when a tyrant tells his people there will be no mercy," he said.
He repeated that no US ground troops would take part.
UK Prime Minister David Cameron said that launching military action against Libya was "necessary, legal and right".
The international community was intervening to stop the "murderous madness" of Col Gaddafi, French President Nicolas Sarkozy said.
"In Libya, the civilian population, which is demanding nothing more than the right to choose their own destiny, is in mortal danger," he warned. "It is our duty to respond to their anguished appeal."
Canada is also sending warplanes to the region, while Italy has offered the use of its military bases.
Rebels in Benghazi said thousands of people had fled the attack by Col Gaddafi's forces, heading east, and the UN refugee agency said it was preparing to receive 200,000 refugees from Libya.
Col Gaddafi has ruled Libya for more than 40 years. An uprising against him began last month after the long-time leaders of neighbouring Tunisia and Egypt were toppled.

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