Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Night the Tripoli sky caught fire: Glow over Libyan capital as Nato planes strike 20 times in 30 MINUTES - 24th May 2011

Nato warplanes were repeatedly hitting Tripoli early today in what appeared to be the heaviest night of bombing of the Libyan capital since the start of the air campaign against Muammar Gaddafi's forces.

More than 20 Nato air strikes in less than half an hour set off thunderous booms that rattled windows around the city.

Heavy plumes of smoke wafted over the city, including from an area close to the sprawling Gaddafi compound, suggesting that was a target. A government spokesman said it was not clear yet what was hit.

As jets flew low over the city, people could be heard screaming and shouting outside a hotel where journalists were staying. The crackling of anti-aircraft fire could be heard.

Pro-government supporters sounded their car horns and fired guns, shouting their support for Gaddafi.

The bombings follow news that Britain and France are to deploy attack helicopters in Libya in an effort to break the stalemate in the conflict.

There was no immediate confirmation of French defence minister Gerard Longuet's claim from the MoD, but a spokesman said that ‘all options are being looked at’.

Any use of attack helicopters such as the RAF's Apaches, which can hit small targets in built-up areas - like besieged city Misrata - would represent a significant stepping-up of international military operations.

It is understood that, if authorised, Apaches could fly from HMS Ocean in the Mediterranean for joint operations with French aircraft to stop Gaddafi's forces targeting civilians in Misrata. Read More