Canada, Denmark, Spain and several Arab states have joined the campaign to enforce the no-fly-zone over Libya.
Canadian warplanes committed to a Western coalition air campaign over Libya will be enforcing a no-fly zone within 48 hours, Defence Minister Peter MacKay said Sunday.
Six CF-18s left CFB Bagotville in Quebec on Friday to join the Western air coalition to enforce a UN no-fly zone over Libya. The announcement comes a day after U.S. and European airstrikes began on Libyan ruler Moammar Gadhafi’s forces and air defences to halt their bloody crackdown on rebels in the country’s east.
The CF-18s from CFB Bagotville, along with 150 personnel, arrived at a small airbase in Trapani, Sicily, around noon local time Saturday. The military had been considering moving the aircraft to a larger base in France, but defence sources said the jets are staying in Italy, the CBC’s James Cudmore reported on Sunday.
The sources said the Canadian pilots will start flying missions to enforce the no-fly zones once the military has approved systems for rules of engagement, command and control, as well as identifying friendly or hostile forces, Cudmore reported.
Denmark has six F-16 fighter ready to take off from Italy’s Sigonella air base to join the international air campaign against Muamer Gaddafi’s forces in Libya, ANSA quoted a senior Italian military official as saying Sunday.
Video of Danish airforce.
Rocco Massimo Zafarana said the Danish aircraft arrived Saturday at the base in Sicily, which is being used to support Operation “Odyssey Dawn” launched to protect Libyan civilians under a mandate of the UN Security Council.
“We do not know if other aircraft will arrive from other countries, but we are ready to welcome them and to provide them with all the necessary support,” Zafarana added.
Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi told a crisis summit on Libya in Paris that his country was offering its military bases
“for now” but did not rule out a bigger participation later. He also said that eight jets are available to join the coalition.
The Spanish Defense Ministry said on Saturday that the country has sent four F-18 fighter jets and a refueling aircraft to Italy to take part in the operation over Libya starting on Sunday, AFP reported.
“These planes will carry out patrol missions and will be operational from tomorrow (Sunday),” a statement issued by the Spanish Defense Ministry read.
Several Arab states – most notably the United Arab Emirates, Jordan, Morocco and Qatar – are expected to join the Western coalition imposing a no-fly zone overLibya. (Past article about Arab states calling for a no-fly-zone over Libya and Arab participation can be found here.)
Fighter jets from the United Arab Emirates are expected to arrive in the Decimomannu base in Italy’s Sardinia to take part in Operation Odyssey Dawn
Qatar‘s Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad Bin Jasim Al Thani said the emirate will join the U.S., U.K., Canada, France and Italy against Libya, making it the first Arab country to commit military forces.
Here is a video report about the military assets being used in Operation Odyssey Dawn.