Wednesday, March 23, 2011

British Commander: Gaddafi's air force 'defeated'

The commander of British aircraft operating over Libya has said that Colonel Muammar Gaddafi's air force "no longer exists as a fighting force".

Air Vice-Marshal Greg Bagwell said the allies could now operate "with near impunity" over the skies of Libya.

He said they were now applying unrelenting pressure on the Libyan armed forces.

He was speaking during a visit to RAF aircrew based at Gioia del Colle in southern Italy.

"We are watching over the innocent people of Libya and ensuring that we protect them from attack" he said.

"We have the Libyan ground forces under constant observation and we attack them whenever they threaten civilians or attack population centres."

His comments come as Western leaders debate who leads the intervention, with the US keen to hand over to Nato.

Western aircraft have flown more than 300 sorties over Libya in recent days and more than 162 Tomahawk cruise missiles have been fired. (read more)