Libya live blog: U.S., allies launch missiles against Gadhafi forces
A Tomahawk missile is launched from the destroyer USS Barry in support of Operation Odyssey Dawn late Saturday night.
March 19th, 2011
07:45 PM ET

Libya live blog: U.S., allies launch missiles against Gadhafi forces

For up-to-the-minute coverage of the unfolding situation in Libya, click here.

[9:50 p.m. ET, 3:50 a.m. in Libya] A woman in Tripoli says she was awoken this morning by a loud explosion from a nearby military base.

After being shaken from her sleep around 2:20 a.m., she said she heard gunfire and went to the roof of her building to observe.

"Then I heard the second explosion," she said. She saw fire rising up from the direction of Mitiga Airport, formerly known as the U.S. Wheelus Air Base.

She also said that people continue to live in fear of Gadhafi. "They're afraid to come out because when they do, he attacked them very, very severely," she says. "This is putting terror in all neighborhoods."

[9:30 p.m. ET, 3:30 a.m. in Libya] State TV in Libya reported early Sunday that 48 people were killed and 150 injured in coalition airstrikes. CNN was not immediately able to independently confirm the report.

[9:20 p.m. ET, 3:20 a.m. in Libya] Britain's Royal Air Force the RAF has launched Stormshadow missiles from a number of Tornado GR4 fast jets as part of a series of coordinated coalition strikes against Libya, the Ministry of Defense said.

"We made clear that if Gaddafi did not comply with the UN Security Council Resolution 1973, it would be enforced through military action. Our Armed Forces have therefore participated in a co-ordinated international coalition strike against key military installations," defense secretary Liam Fox said in a statement.

"The fast jets flew 3,000 miles from RAF Marham and back making this the longest range bombing mission conducted by the RAF since the Falklands conflict," he said. "HMS Westminster is off the coast of Libya and HMS Cumberland is in the region ready to support operations. Typhoon aircraft are also standing by to provide support."

[9:10 p.m. ET, 3:10 a.m. in Libya] Benghazi remains eerily quiet but tense after a day of fights between Gadhafi supporters and opposition fighters, CNN's Arwa Damon reports.

Anti-Gadhafi forces in Benghazi were buoyed by the international intervention but still expect more to come from Gadhafi.

"This is not yet a victory for them. They expect Gadhafi forces to carry something out again, they do not think this is over," she said. "People do not take Gadhafi's threats lightly. They have learned from four decades of his rule. They expect him to plan some kind of maneuver."

[8:45 p.m. ET, 2:45 a.m. in Libya] It is now mostly quiet in Tripoli, just minutes after sustained anti-aircraft gunfire, Robertson reports.

[8:33 p.m. ET, 2:33 a.m. in Libya] Heavy anti-aircraft gunfire can be heard in Tripoli, CNN's Nic Robertson reported.

Robertson said anti-aircraft gunfire also was heard a few hours ago, but it is now more intense. The current round followed a couple of loud explosions, Robertson reported from Tripoli.

[6:20 p.m. ET, 1:20 a.m. in Libya] A defiant Moammar Gadhafi says missile strikes launched Saturday night are grounds for a "crusade war" and vowed to fight back.

"The Libyan people will fight against this aggression. All you people of the Islamic nations and Africa. And all you people in Latin America, and asia to stand with the Libyan people in its fight agaist this aggression," he said.

"France has carried an aggression against Libya. The security council and the international community has a responsibility to do what it takes about this aggression against the sovereign state."

[6:01 p.m. ET, 1:01 a.m. in Libya] Hours after coalition forces launched the first wave of attacks against his military forces, Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi said his people will fight back against undeserved "naked aggression."

Libyan state TV broadcast Gadhafi's response, which included a call for people to take arms in the "war zone."

[5:36 p.m. ET, 12:36 a.m. in Libya] Russia reacted "with regret" Saturday to the start of international military action in Libya, urging an end to violence on all sides.

It said the United Nations resolution that authorized the use of force had been "hastily adopted."

"We again urge all Libyan sides, as well as the participants of the military operation, to do everything they can to prevent the suffering of innocent civilians and to ensure a speedy cease-fire and an end to violence," the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

[5:04 p.m. ET, 12:04 a.m. in Libya] Armed police are gathering outside government buildings in Tripoli and the streets are mostly clear of the revelers that had gathered earlier Saturday evening, CNN's Nic Robertson said.

Earlier, people were playing music and dancing in the street outside Gadhafi's palace compound in an apparent show of celebration, Roberston said. The missile strikes were inaudible over the music and revelry, he said.

[5:04 p.m. ET, 12:04 a.m. in Libya] Coalition strikes were launched despite a government-initiated cease-fire and "major reforms in economic and organizational contexts," a Libyan government spokesman says.

"The claim that this aggression is for the protection of civilians is contradicted by what has really happened on the ground tonight."

[5:04 p.m. ET, 12:04 a.m. in Libya] President Obama is planning for the U.S. portion of the military action in Libya to only last for a few days, according to a senior administration official.

"In terms of the heavy kinetic portion of this military action, the president envisions it as lasting days, not weeks," said the senior official. "After that we'll take more of a supporting role."

[4:58 p.m. ET, 11:58 p.m. in Libya] Air attacks on several locations in Tripoli and Misrata have caused "real harm" to civilians, a Libyan government spokesman said Saturday.

"I am very sorry and saddened that my country is facing a barbaric and armed attack," the spokesman said, adding that "this aggression will not weaken our spirits."

[4:28 p.m. ET, 11:28 p.m. in Libya] More than 110 Tomahawk cruise missileswere fired from U.S and British ships and submarines, striking more than 20 integrated air defense systems and air defense facilities ashore, a Joint Chiefs of Staff official said Saturday.

The goals of "Operation Odyssey Dawn" are to prevent further attacks on Libyan citizens and opposition groups and to degrade the capability of Moammar Gadhafi's forces to resist a no-fly zone, Vice Admiral William E. Gortney Director said.

The strikes were carefully coordinated based on an assessment of whether the targets posed a direct threat to coalition pilots or to the people of Libya, he said.

"This is an international military effort urged by the Libyan people themselves and other Arab nations," Gortney said, noting that U.S. military forces are on the "leadership edge" of the operation.

"This is just the first phase of what will likely be a multi-phase designed to enforce the U.N. Security Council resolution."

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Topics: Libya • United Nations

soundoff (60 Responses)
  1. Kevin

    As far as Bahrain and yemen, If you look closely at the situation, Are very different than Libya, For one, these countrys are developed, Beautiful countrys, compared to Libya, Also you dont see in Libya, convoys of Black esclades, Driving by hospitals, Spraying Uzi fire thru the windows, From my research, I have seen That Iran is seriously influencing the situation in these 2 countrys, are arming the people there, Its a different situation than Libya, Ive seen reports that the people that are being killed there, Are part of a single tirbe, thats causing the riots in these 2 countrys, Taking the guise of these revolutionarys, In libya you have normal people tired of a opressing killer, that doesnt support the people, In yemen and Bahrain you have a certain tribe, thats using the situation in Hope of changing the leader into an Iranian favored leader..!

    March 20, 2011 at 11:00 am | Reply
    • LarryKegel(USAMY)

      Another one of your stupid posts,Kevin. You evidently never finished grade school,let alone high school,judging by the stupid statement above. No wonder the Tea Party Movement is flourishing with people like you around!

      March 20, 2011 at 1:23 pm | Reply
  2. MaiDee

    I am from Serbia. Who know better, all American lies than we here? You can check all their lies at Wikipedia (Milosevic killed 500.000 ethnic Albanians, and in 10 years they found 2400 bodies. What about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, etc?). Like it never happened! Meanwhile they use uranium plated bombs, cluster bombs, attack TV stations, kill civilians, destroy countries. All information that American citizens got are from CNN, ABC, NBC etc., combine that with their stupidity and it will be the end of the World.
    In my country they destroyed industry, roads, lend (radioactive). People can't find jobs, can't marry, can't have kids. Like nation, we are dying. Now they have new victim, and will be much more. I hate them.

    March 20, 2011 at 4:11 pm | Reply
    • kristina

      serbia with gadaffi

      March 20, 2011 at 11:18 pm | Reply
  3. Hary

    People wake up! This is a HUGE scam. The european aerospace giant EADS (formerly AEROSPECIAL) was already cutting a deal with the crooks France calls "government" on how Europe/US are going to destroy libyan air defenses and military targets so that a "new friendly government" in libya can pay $$Billions to EADS and other European/British criminal consortiums to rebuild it all. How many people must die for Exxon, Jew York Times, EADS, Lockheed, etc.

    March 20, 2011 at 5:11 pm | Reply
  4. Salvinus Holister

    "Mr. Moussa should look up the definition of disingenuous. No politician with his experience could ever have expected the enforcement of UN Security Council Resolution 1973 (2011) to involve anything short of a massive military operation. Even the text of the resolution explicitly authorizes member states "to take all necessary measures [...] to protect civilians and civilian populated areas under threat of attack.

    "That includes putting out of commission Muammar Gaddafi's battle tanks, multiple rocket launchers, heavy machine and anti-aircraft guns, Sukhoi jets, helicopter gunships, self-propelled howitzers and infantry combat vehicles, to cripple the colonel's ability to terrorize his own people. Looked at any way, this can only mean war — but a just war waged in response to a Libyan appeal to protect an organic movement for democratic reform against the despotism of an illegitimate government."

    March 20, 2011 at 9:00 pm | Reply
  5. kristina

    cource we are denouncing the U.S. NATO, they are global killers.

    Among the countries bombed by the USA are:

    China 1945-46
    …Korea 1950-53
    China 1950-53
    Guatemala 1954
    Indonesia 1958
    Cuba 1959-60
    Guatemala 1960
    Belgian Congo 1964
    Guatemala 1964
    Dominican Republic 1965-66
    Peru 1965
    Laos 1964-73
    Vietnam 1961-73
    Cambodia 1969-70
    Guatemala 1967-69
    Lebanon 1982-84
    Grenada 1983-84
    Libya 1986
    El Salvador 1981-92
    Nicaragua 1981-90
    Libya 1986
    Iran 1987-88
    Libya 1989
    Panama 1989-90
    Iraq 1991-2002
    Kuwait 1991
    Somalia 1992-94
    Croatia 1994 (of Serbs at Krajina)
    Bosnia 1995
    Iran 1998 (airliner)
    Sudan 1998
    Afghanistan 1998
    Yugoslavia 1999
    Afghanistan 2001-02

    And there you have it, U.S. and now NATO too peace operations.

    March 20, 2011 at 11:15 pm | Reply
  6. allourblogs

    For our opinion on Libya and Americas' involvement, check out our site at:

    July 31, 2011 at 1:23 am | Reply
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