French plane fires on Libya, countries to send warplanes

Reuters/ECPAD/Sebastien Dupont

A French warplane fired on a Libyan military vehicle on Saturday afternoon, according to the French military. The Defence Ministry said about twenty planes are involved in operations over the country to enforce a UN-sanction no-fly zone over the country to keep leader Moamer Kadhafi’s troops from attacking rebels.


France is to send its Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier to Libya on Sunday to support international forces, according to the Defence Ministry.

The US will deploy its "unique capabilities", Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Saturday.

"America has unique capabilities and we will bring them," she said in Paris, after an international summit held there on the Libyan crisis, where US, European and Arab leaders agreed to launch air strikes against Kadhafi’s forces.

The US has F-15 and F-16 fighter jets in Sicily, while the USS Barry and the USS Stout, destroyers equipped with sea-to-ground missiles are in the Mediterranean.

Italy offered its seven military bases for the forces, Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi told journalists on Saturday.

Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Zapatero said his country would provide an airborne refuelling plane and four F-18 fighters that would leave Saturday for an Italian air base.

Belgium said it would provide F-16s it has in southern Greece, and Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou offered the use of the island of Crete, which lies between Greece and Libya.

Norway said it would send six F-16 warplanes would be in place in the next few days, and the Danish defence ministry said four F-16s, two reserve fighter jets and a transport plane had been sent to a military base in Sicily.

The Dutch confirmed they would join in the military operation shortly.

Seven Canadian CF-18 jets and a C-17 Globemaster transport plane left Friday for the
Mediterranean, and British Prime Minister David Cameron said Friday that was moving Tornado and Typhoon fighter jets were being moved "in the coming hours" to bases near Libya.

The US ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice has said she expects a number of Arab partners be involved in the military operations.

Qatar said it would contribute, though it did not get any details, and a UN diplomat said the United Arab Emirates would participate.

Representatives from Jordan, Morocco, Qatar and the UAE attended the Paris summit, as well as Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari in his capacity as head of the Arab League, along with League Secretary General Amr Moussa.

Meanwhile, members of the African Union committee on Libya are to go to Tripoli on Sunday, leaving from Mauritanian Nouakchott, where the group has been meeting.

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