My Google Page Rank

Gadhafi vows to fight as strikes hit his forces

PDFPrintE-mail

TRIPOLI, Libya – Moammar Gadhafi vowed a "long war" as allied forces launched a second night of strikes on Libya, and jubilant rebels who only a day before were in danger of being crushed by his forces now boasted they would bring him down. The U.S. military said the international assault would hit any Gadhafi forces on the ground that are attacking the opposition.

In an attack that carried as much symbolism as military effect, late Sunday a cruise missile blasted a building in Gadhafi's residential compound, near his iconic tent. It was not known where Gadhafi was at the time, but it seemed to show that while the allies trade nuances over whether his fall is a goal of their campaign — he is not safe.

An Associated Press photographer escorted to the scene by the Libyan government said half of the round, three-story administration building was knocked down, smoke was rising from it and pieces of the missile were scattered around the scene. About 300 Gadhafi supporters were in the compound at the time. It was not known if any were hurt.

The U.S. military said the bombardment so far — a rain of Tomahawk cruise missiles and precision bombs from American and European aircraft, including long-range stealth B-2 bombers — had succeeded in heavily degrading Gadhafi's air defenses.

In addition to targeting anti-aircaft sites, U.S., British and French planes blasted a line of tanks that had been moving on the rebel capital Benghazi, in the opposition-held eastern half of the country. On Sunday, at least seven demolished tanks smoldered in a field 12 miles (20 kilometers) south of Benghazi, many of them with their turrets and treads blown off, alongside charred armored personnel carriers, jeeps and SUVs of the kind used by Gadhafi fighters.

"I feel like in two days max we will destroy Gadhafi," said Ezzeldin Helwani, 35, a rebel standing next to the smoldering wreckage of an armored personnel carrier, the air thick with smoke and the pungent smell of burning rubber. In a grisly sort of battle trophy, celebrating fighters hung a severed goat's head with a cigarette in its mouth from the turret of one of the gutted tanks.

The strikes that began early Sunday gave immediate, if temporary, relief to Benghazi, which the day before had been under a heavy attack that killed at least 120 people. The city's calm on Sunday highlighted the dramatic turnaround that the allied strikes bring to Libya's month-old upheaval: For the past 10 days, Gadhafi's forces had been on a triumphant offensive against the rebel-held east, driving opposition fighters back with the overwhelming firepower of tanks, artillery, warplanes and warships.

Now Gadhafi's forces are potential targets for U.S. and European strikes. The U.N. resolution authorizing international military action in Libya not only sets up a no-fly zone but allows "all necessary measures" to prevent attacks on civilians.

But the U.S. military, for the time being at the lead of the international campaign, is trying to walk a fine line over the end game of the assault. It is avoiding for now any appearance that it aims to take out Gadhafi or help the rebels oust him, instead limiting its stated goals to protecting civilians.
At the Pentagon, Navy Vice Adm. William E. Gortney underlined that strikes are not specifically targeting the Libyan leader or his residence in Tripoli. He said that any of Gadhafi's ground forces advancing on the rebels were open targets.

"If they are moving on opposition forces ... yes, we will take them under attack," he told reporters.

"We judge these strikes to have been very effective in significantly degrading the regime's air defense capability," Gortney said. "We believe his forces are under significant stress and suffering from both isolation and a good deal of confusion."

A military official said Air Force B-2 stealth bombers flew 25 hours in a round trip from Whiteman Air Force Base in Missouri and dropped 45 2,000-pound bombs.

What happens if rebel forces eventually go on the offensive against Gadhafi's troops remains unclear. Gortney would not say whether strikes would hit Libyan troops fighting back against rebel assaults.

U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said late Sunday that the U.S. expects turn over control of the operation to a coalition headed by France, Britain or NATO "in a matter of days," reflecting concern that the U.S. military was stretched thin by its current missions. Turkey was blocking NATO action, which requires agreement by all 28 members of the alliance.

Sunday night, heavy anti-aircraft fire erupted repeatedly in the capital, Tripoli, with arcs of red tracer bullets and exploding shells in the dark sky — marking the start of a second night of international strikes. Gadhafi supporters in the streets shot automatic weapons in the air in a show of defiance. It was not immediately known what was being targeted in the new strikes.

Libyan army spokesman Col. Milad al-Fokhi said Libyan army units had been ordered to cease fire at 9 p.m. local time, but the hour passed with no letup in military activity.

Gadhafi vowed to fight on. In a phone call to Libyan state television Sunday, he said he would not let up on Benghazi and said the government had opened up weapons depots to all Libyans, who were now armed with "automatic weapons, mortars and bombs." State television said Gadhafi's supporters were converging on airports as human shields.

"We promise you a long war," he said.

Throughout the day Sunday, Libyan TV showed a stream of what it said were popular demonstrations in support of Gadhafi in Tripoli and other towns and cities. It showed cars with horns blaring, women ululating, young men waving green flags and holding up pictures of the Libyan leader. Women and children chanted, "God, Moammar and Libya, that's it!"

"Our blood is green, not red," one unidentified woman told the broadcaster, referring to the signature color of Gadhafi's regime. "He is our father, we will be with him to the last drop of blood. Our blood is green with our love for him."

(Lucas reported from Benghazi, Libya. Associated Press writers Maggie Michael in Cairo and Lolita C. Baldor and Robert Burns in Washington contributed to this report.)




Related news items:
Newer news items:
Older news items:

Add comment


Security code
Refresh

LIAC on transportation tackles traffic scheme, truck ban

25 Mar 2017 Hits:58 Be the first to comment!

The City Administrator’s Office on Thursday afternoon convened the Local Inter-Agency Committee (LIAC) on the Enforcement of Land Transportation Regulations to tackle pressing issues affecting traffic in the city’s main thoroughfares. City Administrator Apple Go presided over the meeting in line with Mayor Beng Climaco’s directives to exhaust all means to improve traffic situation in the city in partnership with the police and other law enforcement agencies and stakeholders. Topping the list in the agenda was the ongoing pipe laying project of the Zamboanga City Water District which has been aggravating traffic congestion; assessment of the experimental one-way traffic scheme which is on dry run starting March 20 covering the west coast area with the phase II to start on March 27 [...] Read more

Prev Next Page:

Visually-impaired Dapilin graduates cum laude

25 Mar 2017 Hits:46 Be the first to comment!

A visually-impaired student from Basilan Province is graduating cum laude with a degree of Bachelor of Science in Education at the Western Mindanao State University (WMSU) on Wednesday, March 29. Abdulazis [...] Read more


Chides Magdalo men for being ‘cowards’

24 Mar 2017 Hits:91 Be the first to comment!

President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday branded Vice President Leni Robredo as an enemy who was in a hurry to claim the presidency and described Senator Antonio Trillanes IV as “a [...] Read more


Globe equips Manila Science HS with 21st Century classroom

24 Mar 2017 Hits:66 Be the first to comment!

Globe Telecom and Habitat for Humanity officially turned over to Manila Science High School (MaSci) over the weekend a multifunctional Information and Communications Technology (ICT) laboratory with a collaborative working [...] Read more


WestMinCom troops honor fallen marine soldier

24 Mar 2017 Hits:74 Be the first to comment!

A fallen soldier from the Marine Battalion Landing Team (MBLT)-2, who was killed during a clash with communist rebels, was honored in a send-off ceremony before he was brought to [...] Read more


Six alleged drug pushers arrested

24 Mar 2017 Hits:67 Be the first to comment!

Six persons, including a minor, were arrested in a series of buy-bust operations conducted by the different police stations of the Zamboanga City Police Office (ZCPO), Wednesday. The Drug Enforcement Team [...] Read more


MGB-9 orders stoppage of illegal gold mining in Baliguian town

23 Mar 2017 Hits:68 Be the first to comment!

Local small-scale miners looking for gold ores were ordered to stop illegal mining activities in Pigbogololan area in the rural town of Baliguian, Zamboanga del Norte early this month after [...] Read more


Globe myBusiness gives tips to working in the comfort of your own home

23 Mar 2017 Hits:75 Be the first to comment!

Many business owners enjoy working from home, but there’s a challenge that automatically comes with it.  There are certainly many perks, like being in charge of your own time, dressing [...] Read more


Cocolisap funds await PCA, City Hall coordination gab

22 Mar 2017 Hits:73 Be the first to comment!

Funds to rehabilitate the coconut industry following the cocolisap devastation cannot be released as of yet until after the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) regional office 9 and the city government [...] Read more


Koko sees okay of free internet access, six key bills this year

22 Mar 2017 Hits:110 Be the first to comment!

Senate President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III said Congress is expected to approve this year the bill on free internet access in all public places and six other key priority measures [...] Read more


Ateneo shines anew in Physician Licensure Exam

22 Mar 2017 Hits:115 Be the first to comment!

The Ateneo de Zamboanga University School of Medicine (ADZU-SOM) once again came up with an impressive performance during the recent Physician Licensure Examination (PLE) given by the Board of Medicine [...] Read more


Globe At Home Customers Meet the Cast of Wicked

21 Mar 2017 Hits:79 Be the first to comment!

The year is just beginning, but one of the highlights of 2017 is the staging of the Wicked, the West End musical, which transformed the Theatre at Solaire into the [...] Read more


Zambo harvests 80 gold medals in ZPRAA

21 Mar 2017 Hits:96 Be the first to comment!

The Zamboanga delegation ranked second in the secondary level and third in the elementary level in the recently concluded Zamboanga Peninsula Regional Athletic Association (ZPRAA) meet held in Dipolog City [...] Read more


Lamitan in state of calamity

18 Mar 2017 Hits:148 Be the first to comment!

The city council of Lamitan, last Wednesday, declared a state of calamity in the entire city. Vice Mayor Roderick Furigay said, the City Council concurred with the request of the barangay [...] Read more


Double barrel reloaded nets four more

18 Mar 2017 Hits:134 Be the first to comment!

Four more suspected drug pushers were arrested in another Project Double Barrel-Reloaded operation in Zamboanga City, last Thursday. Arrested were Gilbert Johnston y Dagoy, 48, single, of Sitio Lantawan, Barangay Pasonanca; [...] Read more


SSS releases March differential of P1,000 additional benefit

17 Mar 2017 Hits:128 Be the first to comment!

The state-run Social Security System on Thursday said it has already released about P2.1 billion to its partner banks for the release of the last tranche of the retroactive P1,000 [...] Read more


Aboitiz, DTI partner anew for Matigsalug livelihood project

16 Mar 2017 Hits:121 Be the first to comment!

AboitizPower subsidiary Therma South, Inc. (TSI) in partnership with Aboitiz Foundation, Inc. (AFI), has tied up with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) 11 to implement a comprehensive crafts [...] Read more


6th InfoCar meets with 100 IDPs

16 Mar 2017 Hits:108 Be the first to comment!

Some 100 internally displaced persons (IDPs) met with local and government agencies for a half-day engagement to discuss the progress and developments of the City’s rehabilitation and recovery efforts. Spearheaded by [...] Read more


Forwarding company robbed

15 Mar 2017 Hits:130 Be the first to comment!

The office of a forwarder company was robbed by unidentified burglars who carted away computer accessories, bank checks and cash. Police Station 11 report showed that the officer-in-charge of the Overseas [...] Read more