Gadhafi's Warplane Shot Down by French Fighter Jets in Misrata

Pan.bg 24 мар 2011 | 16:14 views (2231) commentaries(0)
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Coalition Forces Also Strike Libyan Leader's Compound in Tripoli for the Second Time
Libyan strongman Moammar Gadhafi challenged the allies' no-fly zone for the first time today, sending up a warplane over the city of Misrata where it was quickly shot down by French fighter jets, a senior French military official said.
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The plane launched by Gadhafi was a "G-2 Galeb," a single-engine military aircraft.
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The coalition has had total control of the skies the last few days. Africa Command's Gen. Carter F. Ham said on Monday that no Libyan planes had flown since the start of the operations on Saturday. The Tomahawk missile strikes have effectively degraded Libyan air defenses to the point that the coalition has not even recorded any radar activity coming from Libya.
Officials also said that Gadhafi's Bab Al-Aziziya compound in Tripoli was struck again by coalition forces overnight for a second time. The compound was originally hit on Sunday by two British tomahawk missiles.
The latest strike on the Al-Aziziya compound was not a pre-scheduled target, a U.S. official said. Instead, it was more likely an opportune target, in that the pilots did not go out intending to target the compound, but may have seen something worth attacking, the official said.
Rebels continue to fight though they remain besieged by Gadhafi's forces.
In Ajdabiayh, just west of the rebel stronghold of Benghazi, rebels bombed Gadhafi's outposts. Fighters armed with anti-aircraft guns held up peace signs, which has become a symbol of this revolution.
"Gadhafi's forces are weak and isolated," said one man confidently. "We need heavy weapons and aerial support to confront their tanks."
But Gadhafi's forces are still firing away, not giving in.
They are also on the offensive in the west. Despite international air strikes, the rebel-held cities of Misrata and Zintan continue to be attacked, and their residents are pleading for help.
Multiple explosions rocked the capital of Tripoli overnight as Gadhafi's compound was bombed for the second time in a week.
An anchor on state TV brandished an AK-47 and declared he was ready to die for the colonel.Representatives from countries that are part of the coalition will meet this Saturday in the United Kingdom to




form a "contact group" to continue the intervention in Libya. But there's still much confusion and disagreements among the allies on who will take command.
U.S. officials insist they will hand over leadership as early as this weekend. President Obama pledged that the United States was not engaging in a long-term commitment when he announced his decision to participate in the strikes.
NATO appears to be the likely new leader but there is uncertainty over whether it will accept that role amid skepticism from several of its members, including Turkey.
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