British Submarines Fire on Gaddafi's Forces

Kompas.com - 20/03/2011, 06:26 WIB
EditorJimmy Hitipeuw

KOMPAS.com -The British military are in action over Libya tonight, David Cameron confirmed, as an international coalition opened fire against Gaddafi's air defences. The Prime Minister said 'what we are doing is necessary, legal and right' as he confirmed British military operations had begun.

Britain, the U.S., France, Canada and Italy were all launching strikes tonight according to U.S. sources in the biggest international military intervention in the Arab world since the 2003 Iraq war.

Coalition troops fired more than 110 cruise missiles at Libyan targets in 'only the first phase' of a multiphase operation, a senior U.S. military official said on Saturday.

Vice Admiral Bill Gortney, director of the U.S. military's Joint Staff, declined to discuss what the next phase of the operations would be. He said more than 20 sites had been targeted in coalition strikes so far.

A UK submarine is understood to have been stationed in the Mediterranean for some time without being detected. Mr Cameron said Colonel Gaddafi had stepped up his campaign against his people despite announcing a ceasefire.

The Prime Minister said 'we should not stand aside while a dictator murders his people' as reports suggested explosions had been heard in the capital Tripoli.

Speaking after a Cobra meeting in Downing Street, he said: 'We have all seen the appalling brutality that Colonel Gaddafi has meted out against his own people. And far from introducing the ceasefire he spoke about, he has actually stepped up the attacks and the brutality that we can all see.

'So what we are doing is necessary, it is legal, and it is right.

He added: 'Tonight, of course our thoughts should be with those in our armed services who are putting their lives at risk in order to save the lives of others. They are the bravest of the brave.

Up to 20 French planes were said to be patrolling the air above Libya enforcing the no-fly zone and had destroyed four Libyan tanks in air strikes. The U.S. Navy had fired Tomahawk missiles at coastal Libyan air defences from their submarines, according to reports.

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