First wave of allied assault: 112 cruise missiles

  • Sat Mar 19th 2011

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Pentagon says U.S. and British ships and submarines have launched the first phase of a missile assault on Libyan air defenses, firing 112 Tomahawk cruise missiles at more than 20 targets along the coast.

Saturday's mission was aimed at clearing the way for imposition of a European-led no-fly zone over the North African country.

Navy Vice Adm. William E. Gortney, director of the Pentagon's Joint Staff, told reporters the Tomahawk cruise missiles were fired from one British submarine and a number of American destroyers and subs. He said they hit more than 20 air defense sites along the Mediterranean coastline. He said the success of the mission was not immediately clear, adding that additional attacks would commence later.

Gortney said the mission has two goals: prevent further attacks by Libyan forces on rebels and other civilians, and degrade the Libyan military's ability to contest a no-fly zone.

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