Diplomatic and Military Affairs

French planes struck Libyan air base overnight

Updated: 2011-03-24 21:06


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French planes struck Libyan air base overnight
French Navy flight deck crew members prepare Rafale fighter jets aboard France's flagship Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier March 23, 2011. The carrier, carrying a crew of around 1,800 and some 20 aircraft, is accompanied by an attack submarine, several frigates and a refuelling ship defence officials have said. Picture taken March 23, 2011.[Photo/Agencies]

PARIS -- French warplanes struck an air base in central Libya early on Thursday in a fifth night of bombardments by Western powers against Muammar Gaddafi's military, France's armed forces spokesman said.

Spokesman Thierry Burkhard told a news briefing that around 15 French planes were deployed on Wednesday and a dozen overnight, leading to missile strikes on an air base some 155 miles (250 km) inland from Libya's Mediterranean coast.

"We are not changing tack, action is continuing," Burkhard said.

Earlier on Thursday, French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe defended the pace of the coalition air operation, which has been spearheaded by France. He said five days was not long enough to achieve its goal of protecting civilians by crushing Gaddafi's counter-offensive against rebel forces.  


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