Monday, April 04, 2011

218 NATO Strikes Hit Libya in Four Days

218 NATO strikes hit Libya in 4 days

Mon Apr 4, 2011 1:42AM

A satellite image of the town of SirteNATO has conducted 218 aerial strikes on Libya since it assumed control of military operations on Thursday amid concerns that the death toll among civilians is rapidly increasing.

According to NATO, warplanes belonging to to the military alliance carried out 184 sorties on Saturday alone, 70 of which were airstrikes as part of the mission, codenamed Unified Protector, aimed at "enforcing a no-fly zone and protecting civilians," Xinhua reported on Sunday.

The Saturday aerial strikes killed at least 13 Libyan opposition forces and several civilians were killed on the outskirts of Brega, about 800 kilometers (500 miles) east of Tripoli.

Since the onset of NATO's military operations, a total of 547 sorties, including 218 strike sorties, have been conducted, the Western alliance added.

According to the report, 21 naval vessels under NATO command are also patrolling the Central Mediterranean to enforce arms embargo on Libya.

US, British, French, Canadian, Danish and Belgian warplanes have launched several strikes on Libya since March 19 under UN Security Council resolution 1973 that authorized "all necessary measures" to protect civilians.

According to US military officials, more than 350 aircraft from the US and twelve EU countries are participating in the US-led campaign of military airstrikes against Libya.

A blast of Tomahawk and Storm Shadow missiles fired from submarines in the Mediterranean, bombs dropped by B-2 stealth bombers and an array of fighter jets mounting military strikes over several Libyan cities show no signs of nearing an end as battles between pro-Gaddafi troops and revolutionaries remain unabated.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees says some 351,600 people have fled the crisis-hit Libya for fear of violence and around 1,500 to 2,000 are making their way to Egypt each day.

Speculations are rife about the real motive behind the war in Libya, with many analysts saying that under the guise of protecting civilians, as enshrined in the UN Security Council resolution 1973, Washington and its Western allies are basically after the North African country's vast oil reserves.

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