U.S. Cruise Missiles Hit Libyan Air Defense Targets
As the opening hours of the U.N. sanctioned action against Libya, the United States has taken its first offensive military action against Libya since the bombing attacks in 1986:
U.S. military officials have confirmed the first American tomahawk cruise missiles have been fired at targets inside Libya from ships in the Mediterranean Sea.
The move is the first direct U.S. involvement in the international operation mobilizing to stop Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi’s attacks on opposition strongholds and enforce a U.N.-backed no-fly zone.
Pentagon officials said there were 11 U.S. ships stationed in the Mediterranean Sea, including three submarines and two destroyers capable of firing cruise missiles, and several amphibious ships and supply ships.
The first strikes in what is being called “Operation Odyssey Dawn” were expected to target air defense missile sites around Tripoli, Misratah, and Surt, but no areas east of that or near Benghazi, officials said.
President Obama told members of Congress Friday that he had not yet authorized the use of U.S. planes, but a senior military official said Saturday that U.S. aircraft would be involved. It’s unclear if those planes include bombers and fighters among support aircraft that could provide airborne surveillance, refueling and radar-jamming capabilities.
Ironically, these attacks come on the 8th Anniversary of the beginning of the Iraq War.