U.S. launches missile strikes against Libya

Gadhafi’s 40 plus year rule in Libya is coming to an end.  The United States launched its first missile attack on Libyan air defenses on Saturday, as America and its allies began military action to enforce a no-fly zone.

U.S. military officials have confirmed the first American tomahawk cruise missiles have been fired at targets inside Libya from ships in the Mediterranean Sea.

The move is the first direct U.S. involvement in the international operationmobilizing to stop Libyan leaderMoammar Gadhafi’s attacks on opposition strongholds and enforce a U.N.-backed no-fly zone.

Pentagon officials said there were 11 U.S. ships stationed in the Mediterranean Sea, including three submarines and two destroyers capable of firing cruise missiles, and several amphibious ships and supply ships.

The first strikes in what is being called “Operation Odyssey Dawn” were expected to target air defense missile sites around Tripoli, Misratah, and Surt, but no areas east of that or near Benghazi, officials said.

President Barack Obama speaking during a visit to Brazil, said that limited U.S. military action had begun to protect Libyan civilians against attacks from forces loyal Moammar Gadhafi.

US Vice Admiral William Gortney, the director of the Pentagon’s Joint Staff, briefed journalists on the first phase of the UN-backed international military operations against forces loyal to Muammar Gaddafi, the Libyan leader.

Military action in Libya follows weeks of intensive, international diplomatic pressure on Gadhafi to cease the violence and pull back from rebel-held cities.

The Security Council approved a resolution late Thursday authorizing the international community to take “all necessary measures,” short of sending in ground troops, to protect civilians in Libya, and to impose a no-fly zone.

As reported here, Gadhafi’s hold on power was coming to an end and the only question was how soon would the international community act to force his hand.  That question has now been answered.

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