International

Conflict In Libya: Sunday's Developments

The bodies of pro-government forces littered the ground in al-Wayfiyah, 35 km West of Benghazi, after reportedly being hit by French warplanes on Sunday. i i

The bodies of pro-government forces littered the ground in al-Wayfiyah, 35 km West of Benghazi, after reportedly being hit by French warplanes on Sunday. Patrick Baz/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption Patrick Baz/AFP/Getty Images
The bodies of pro-government forces littered the ground in al-Wayfiyah, 35 km West of Benghazi, after reportedly being hit by French warplanes on Sunday.

The bodies of pro-government forces littered the ground in al-Wayfiyah, 35 km West of Benghazi, after reportedly being hit by French warplanes on Sunday.

Patrick Baz/AFP/Getty Images

It's about 2 p.m. ET here in Washington, D.C. — or 8 p.m. in Tripoli — and we're going to wrap up The Two-Way's rolling coverage of events in Libya for the day. Mark Memmott will be back with you early on Monday with the latest developments.

Until then, you can continue to follow the story through the night on NPR.org.

As of this moment, the story in Libya is that a second day of operations over the country have begun. Reuters reports an un-named U.S. military official as expecting "more strikes" against Libya. The BBC reports French jets already over the country have encountered no resistance today.

Qatar is expected to join operations against Libya with four jets of its own, the first Arab country to participate.

Both the Arab League and Russia criticized the attacks on Libya as going beyond the "no-fly" mandate issued by the U.N.

Meanwhile, Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi and his son Saif have made defiant statements in the media. Bloomberg quotes the senior Gadhafi calling the forces allied against him "the party of Satan" while promising that his forces "will fight for every inch of our land and liberate every inch of it."

Rebels and Libyan government forces continue to battle on the ground in Misrata and Benghazi, the heart of the rebellion.

Update at 1:47 p.m. ET: Amr Moussa, the head of the Arab League, told reporters today that the first night of operations over Libya by the U.S. and its allies went beyond the "no fly" measures that his organization had backed. The AP notes, however, that the United Nations resolution authorized "all necessary measures" to protect civilians.

Update at 1:34 p.m. ET: French jets have begun a second day of operations over Libya, according to the BBC. The report says that the jets have encountered no resistance and have not fired on Libyan forces. The BBC story also notes that Qatari jets will soon join the operations over Libya.

Update at 12:10 p.m. ET: Saif Gadhafi, the son of Libya's leader, tells Christiane Amanpour of ABC News that he was surprised by the American, French and British attacks. Gadhafi described the rebel forces holding Benghazi as "gangsters" and "terrorists" holding the people of Libya against their will:

"Our people went to Benghazi to liberate Benghazi from the gangsters and the armed militia," Gadhafi said. "If the Americans want to help the Libyan people in Benghazi ... go to Benghazi and liberate Benghazi from the militia and the terrorists."

Update at 11:56 a.m. ET: Agence France-Presse (AFP) is reporting that two of its journalists are missing in Libya. Dave Clark and Roberto Schmidt have been missing since Saturday morning when they were working in the east of the country near Tobruk. Photographer Joe Raedle of Getty Images was part of their group, too.

Update at 11:35 a.m. ET: Qatar joins host of countries offering military support for the action against Libya. The AP highlighted some of the contributions on offer:

  • U.S. — Missiles, aircraft, ships including B-2 stealth bombers
  • France — Aircraft and ships, including eight Rafale and four Mirage jets
  • Canada — Six F-18 aircraft sent to Italy
  • Denmark — Six F-18 aircraft deployed to Italy
  • Italy — Aircraft, ships and the offer of seven military bases for operations
  • Spain — Deployed four F-18 aircraft to Italy and opened two military bases to NATO operations
  • Britain — Ships and aircraft, including Typhoon and Tornado jets, and an airbase in Cyprus
  • Belgium — Moved eight F-16 aircraft to a Greek airbase

Update at 10:30 a.m. ET: Qatar says that it will commit military forces to the international campaign against the forces of Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi. Bloomberg reports:

"Middle Eastern leaders backed an offensive by international forces seeking to protect Libyan civilians as President Muammar Qaddafi said his country would become hell for the 'monsters' attacking it."

"Qatar's Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad Bin Jasim Al Thani said the emirate will join the U.S., U.K., Canada, France and Italy against Libya, making it the first Arab country to commit military forces. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called Arab participation in talks in Paris yesterday 'extraordinarily important' and said more can be expected from Middle East states."

Update at 9:52 a.m. ET: Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich has called on the U.S. and its allies to limit their strikes on Libya. He said in statement reported by Reuters that "... we call on countries involved to stop the non-selective use of force." Lukashevich said civilians had been killed in attacks by the U.S., France and Britain and that civilian infrastructure had also been hit. Reuters goes on to note that the U.S. and its allies say they have only targeted military assets.

Update at 9:15 a.m. ET: Reuters quotes Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff as telling NBC's Meet The Press that:

"He (Gadhafi) hasn't had aircraft or helicopters flying the last couple days. So, effectively, that no-fly zone has been put in place."

Update at 9:09 a.m. ET: The U.S. military will be using the daylight hours on Sunday to assess the results of their overnight attacks. The AP reports:

"The U.S. military announced that Navy electronic warfare aircraft and Marine Corps attack jets joined the international assault early Sunday. Navy EA-18G Growlers launched from unspecified land bases to provide electronic warfare support over Libya. Marine AV-8B Harriers from the USS Kearsarge sailing in the Mediterranean conducted strikes against Gadhafi's ground forces and air defenses."

"American officials are eager to confirm that damage from the multi-stage air campaign has been extensive enough to allow air patrols to protect civilians being targeted by Gadhafi."

"Military officials said that as Sunday dawned in Libya, satellites would give commanders a better view of the expected destruction along the country's coastline."

Update at 8:38 a.m. ET: The death toll reported by the Libyan government has risen. Reuters reports a health official as saying that 64 people have died as a result of the attacks. Independent verification of the Libyan reports, however, was not possible.

Update at 8:20 a.m. ET: Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi vowed it would be a "long war" after the militaries of the United States, Britain and France attacked 20 targets in Libya from the air with more than 100 cruise missiles and bombing raids by fighter jets.

Al Jazeera reports:

"In a roughly 15-minute address on Sunday, his second since the air raids began and during which he never appeared on screen, Gaddafi promised a "long war" that his forces would win. The promise to fight comes after Libyan foreign minister Musa Kousa responded to a United Nations resolution authorising force to protect civilians by promising to institute a cease fire."

The AP reports that Libyan state TV says 48 people died in the attacks and 150 were wounded. The AP quotes Gadhafi as saying on TV that he was arming his own supporters:

"In the phone call to state television, Gadhafi said he would not let up on Benghazi and said the government had opened up weapons depots to all Libyans, who were now armed with 'automatic weapons,mortars and bombs.' State television said Gadhafi's supporters were converging on airports as human shields."

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