Friday, March 25, 2011

Libya: British planes bomb Gaddafi tanks for first time

Britain has launched a concerted attack for the first time on pro-Gaddafi loyalists besieging the key Libyan city of Ajdabiya, using laser guided weapons to destroy tanks on the ground.

The attack which destroyed four tanks on the outskirts of Ajdabiya, came as rebel fighting intensified inside the city and reports came in of fighting in a second city, Misurata.

Dr Liam Fox, the Defence Secretary, said British Tornado GR4 Aircraft took part in the missile strike on Thursday night. "The Tornado aircraft launched a number of guided Brimstone missiles at Libyan armoured vehicles which were threatening the civilian population of Ajdabiya," he said.

In Tripoli the Libyan government unwittingly showed journalists yesterday striking evidence of the accuracy of allied air strikes. The blackened skeleton of a radar dish, about 30 feet high, stood burned out on a hillside surrounded by trees. The leaves on the trees, even those hanging over the dish, were not even singed.

The Ajdabiya attack was followed up by other coalition forces which destroyed another three tanks as the Tornados refuelled in mid-air for a second bombing run.

Wing Commander Andy Turk, the navigator on one of two Tornados which took off from Gioia del Colle airbase in southern Italy described his role in the mission, saying: "We were tasked to go to the area and fairly quickly found a tank by the side of the main road, away from any major built-up areas."


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