Tuesday, 24 May 2011

NATO increases pressure on Qadhafi with more air strikes

According to a number of sources, NATO's planes have launched a series of heavy air raids on Tripoli, which has seen three people dead and many injured in an attack on army barracks.

The strikes followed an announcement by France that it along with the UK would deploy attack helicopters to fortify the air strike campaign. Heavy explosions hit Libya's capital, as one strike was quickly followed by another.

NATO has said it bombed a transport depot near Colonel Mu'ammar Qadhafi's, Bab Al-Aziziya, compound which had been used by his forces in attacks on civilians. The use of attack helicopters marks a significant move to up the campaign in Libya, in order to step-up the pressure on Qadhafi after weeks of deadlock.

France's Foreign Minister Alain Juppe said France was sending NATO 12 French Tiger and Gazelle helicopters for the attack campaign against Qadhafi and his troops. The UK's Apache attack helicopters would deploy from HMS Ocean, the Royal Navy's largest warship.

Speaking about the most recent strike, a spokesman for Libya's government, Moussa Ibrahim, said three civilians were killed and 150 people wounded. He was quoted by Reuters as saying: “This is another night of bombing and killing by NATO.”

Sources: BBC News, Aljazeera, The Daily Telegraph, Reuters

For more news and expert analysis about Libya, please see Libya Focus and Libya Politics & Security.

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