This building was destroyed by the NATO bombing of the North African state of Libya. It housed a civil society council with a school for special needs children next door. Libya is taking legal action against the imperialists., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
Canadian jet fighters join NATO raids on
Tripoli, target armoured vehicles
June 16, 2011
The Canadian Press
OTTAWA—Canadian warplanes have bombed the Libyan capital of Tripoli, the military confirmed Thursday.
CF-18 jet fighters took part in four days of targeted strikes over last weekend, said Col. Alain Pelletier, who commands Canada’s air contingent in Italy.
Pelletier could not say whether any of the strikes came close to hitting Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi. He said he doesn’t get day-to-day intelligence on the movements of particular people, but added bombing runs target command and control elements of Gadhafi’s forces.
“So we’re not targeting specific persons,” Pelletier said via telephone to a short briefing of journalists at Defence Department headquarters.
“I cannot say whether or not we got close to a specific person or not, unfortunately.”
The Canadian jets were involved in day and night raids on Tripoli, which has recently been the focus of more intense NATO bombing.
“When we’re talking of targets that are in the vicinity of populations, we’ve been actually targeting at night for some of them, and some others were actually targeted during the day,” Pelletier said. “All of the attacks were extremely successful using our laser guided weapons.”
They struck at depots housing armoured vehicles, field headquarters and ammunition dumps in an attempt to hurt Gadhafi’s command-and-control structures.
It’s the first time the Canadian Forces has given specific details about the CF-18s involvement in NATO’s stepped-up attacks on Tripoli. The military refused to confirm participation in the Tripoli offensive at its last briefing in late May, citing the need to protect operational security.
The Tripoli attacks have sparked criticism in some quarters that NATO is straying from the United Nations resolution that has authorized the mission by targeting Gadhafi directly.
The UN authorized a no-fly zone to protect civilians from Gadhafi, who has pledged to crush the uprising against his four decades of iron-fisted rule.
CF-18s also targeted mobile gun systems, including those equipped with rocket launchers in order to keep Gadhafi’s forces from reaching Misrata, the rebel-held city that has faced renewed attacks recently.
Canadian jets had to be recalled to one target because the laser-targeting system on an allied jet failed. They were able to reset the required laser coordinates to help finish the attack, said Pelletier.
“It was a great demonstration of interoperability of our equipment and tactics with our partners.”
Canada has seven fighter jets taking part in the NATO-led bombardment, along with a warship, surveillance planes and aerial refuellers, some 650 military personnel in all.
As the mission enters its third month, Pelletier said the vote in Parliament this week that extended the mission to the end of September was a morale boost to Canadian personnel.