Libya live blog: Gadhafi troops attack Misrata hospital
Libyan rebels deploy near the city of Ajdabiya to try to attack government forces that have encircled the town.
March 23rd, 2011
10:10 PM ET

Libya live blog: Gadhafi troops attack Misrata hospital

The latest developments on the situation in Libya, where coalition forces launched a series of coordinated airstrikes on Saturday after they were convinced Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi was not adhering to a cease-fire mandated by the United Nations. Read our complete story and check out our full coverage on unrest in the Arab world. Also, don't miss a gripping, high-resolution gallery of images from Libya.

[10:10 p.m. Wednesday ET, 4:10 a.m. Thursday in Libya] The coalition air effort to halt the Libyan government's attacks on civilians continued into Thursday for a sixth day, with an airstrike in the Tripoli suburb of Tajura, a government official said.

[9:20 p.m. Wednesday ET, 3:20 a.m. Thursday in Libya] After enduring five days of air strikes by coalition forces, Libyan government troops retain the upper hand. Government forces' move on Benghazi has been reversed, but attacks on Misrata and Ajdabiya continue. One witness said personnel in the main hospital were "paralyzed with fear."

Meanwhile, the Libyan government reported that military and civilian locations in Tripoli neighborhoods were struck. A U.S. official calls that assertion "unlikely" and says coalition forces have been using "all necessary measures" to protect civilians.

[6:02 p.m. Wednesday ET, 12:02 a.m. Thursday in Libya] Members of Moammar Gadhafi's inner circle are contacting the United States and Arab states, but have been unclear about their intentions, senior U.S. officials said.

However, the officials said that none of Gadhafi's inner circle have indicated Gadhafi was ready to leave, nor have any of them suggested they are ready to abandon Gadhafi, CNN's Elise Labott reported.

They are indeed reaching out, but it's not clear to what end," one senior official said. "It's not clear what's the purpose of all these calls."

[5:48 p.m. Wednesday ET, 11:48 p.m. in Libya] House Speaker John Boehner has written a letter to President Barack Obama complaining of "limited, sometimes contradictory" information so far on the U.S.-led military mission in Libya and asked for the president to provide "a clear and robust assessment."

Boehner, R-Ohio, wrote that he and other House members were troubled that the president committed U.S. military resources to war "without clearly defining for the American people, the Congress and our troops what the mission in Libya is and what America's role is in achieving that mission," CNN's Deirdre Walsh reports.

[5:30 p.m. Wednesday ET, 11:30 p.m. in Libya] Tanks belonging to Gadhafi's forces shelled the main hospital of rebel-held Misrata this afternoon, a witness told CNN.

The push began at 8 p.m. (2 p.m. ET), when "heavy tanks for Gadhafi troops start attacking the hospital - the bombs falling here 20 meters (66 feet) around us," said one person inside the hospital. He said two deaths had occurred "around the hospital."

At one point, shelling occurred without respite for 40 minutes, he said. "Now, fortunately, no more shelling, but the situation is so serious that all the teams here - the doctors, the patients - are paralyzed, scared."

He called for international intervention to protect the civilians inside the institution. "Nobody can work here," he said. All the doctors here are completely paralyzed." Ambulances were not able to leave the hospital, which had lost its electricity and was running on generator power, he said.

[5:05 p.m. Wednesday ET, 11:05 p.m. in Libya] An update on which Arab nations are playing some role in the coalition operation: Jordanian government spokesman Taher Edwan says that Jordan's role will be limited to a humanitarian one. "Jordan did not and will not have any military participation in Libya, neither in planes or on the ground at all in Libya," he said.

British Prime Minister David Cameron said Wednesday that Kuwait and Jordan have agreed to provide logistical support to the Libyan effort.

Qatar has already contributed planes to mission.

The United Arab Emirates said Tuesday it will participate, but only in providing humanitarian assistance. Toward that end, the country has sent a ship and two planes with basic relief supplies, the country's news agency said.

[4:53 p.m. Wednesday ET, 10:53 p.m. in Libya] Members of the Obama administration, while briefing a bipartisan group of congressional aides Tuesday on the military action in Libya, stressed that the U.S. is "not at war" with Libya, according to an official who was there.

The official said there was "deep skepticism from both sides of the aisle, both sides of the capitol" during the session. The official said that concerns about the mission were expressed and that while some spoke of support for "what the president is doing," they were seeking guidance on how to answer their constituents when they ask "what's next," according to CNN's Dan Lothian.

According to the official, who spoke to CNN but did not want to be quoted on the record, the panel could not provide a clear answer and instead said they're focused on implementing the U.N. Security Council resolution.

Critics on Capitol Hill are angry over what they consider inadequate administration consultation with Congress before the start of the military mission over the weekend. They also

[4:30 p.m. Wednesday ET, 10:30 p.m. in Libya] CNN's Arwa Damon talks to the Libyan rebels who came to the aid of one of the two American servicemembers who ejected from a U.S. Air Force F-15 that crashed near Benghazi in eastern Libya after a malfunction.

Rebels recovered the crew member, a weapons officer, and treated him with "respect and dignity" until coalition forces reached him, U.S. Navy Adm. Samuel Locklear III said Tuesday. U.S. rescue teams picked up the other crew member, the pilot, who had landed in a different spot.

[3:06 p.m. Wednesday ET, 9:06 p.m. in Libya] More on U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's latest comments to reporters: She said it is "clear that Gadhafi has lost confidence of Libyan people."

That's the main reason "why he should leave power," she said Wednesday afternoon. He can't govern or "meet the legitimate aspirations of his own people."

Clinton indicated that international military action may be putting pressure on Gadhafi to step aside, but stressed that the goal of the military campaign remains purely humanitarian - to protect civilians and enforce the no-fly zone.

It is up to Gadhafi and his advisers "to determine what their next steps are," Clinton said. But we would "encourage them to make the right decision" and "prepare for a transition that does not include Col. Gadhafi."

[2:52 p.m. Wednesday ET, 8:52 p.m. in Libya] U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said that the United States and its global partners are making progress in Libya. Clinton cited the retreat of Gadhafi's troops from the eastern Libyan city and rebel stronghold of Benghazi, along with what she characterized as the successful establishment of conditions necessary for a no-fly zone.

"Many, many Libyans are safer today because the international community took action," Clinton said.

The U.S. government will continue to support the military mission as command and control shifts to NATO, she said.

[2:04 p.m. Wednesday ET, 8:04 p.m. in Libya] A new Gallup poll said 47% of Americans approve of military action against Libya while 37% disapprove. A CNN/Opinion Research poll released Monday, however, suggested a larger majority of Americans - seven in 10 - favored establishing a no-fly zone in Libya enforced by the United States and other nations.

[1:59 p.m. Wednesday ET, 7:59 p.m. in Libya] Britain will host an international meeting Tuesday to assess progress and needs in the Libya campaign, British Foreign Secretary William Hague said.

[1:53 p.m. Wednesday ET, 7:53 p.m. in Libya] Parts of the eastern Libyan city of Ajdabiya fell to opposition forces even though Gadhafi's men, who have been pounding the area with artillery and heavy tank bombardments, retained control of the northern and western gates, opposition fighters and witnesses told CNN.

A hospital staffer and opposition fighters said that nine people were killed Wednesday in fighting near the northern gate. Coalition airstrikes targeted military sites in Ajdabiya Tuesday night into Wednesday, a U.S. military official said.

[12:41 p.m. Wednesday ET, 6:41 p.m. in Libya] In the last 24 hours, the international coalition has flown 175 sorties over Libya - 113 of them by U.S. planes, U.S. Rear Adm. Gerard Hueber said. He said the coalition has no indication that Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi was complying with a United Nations mandate to stop attacks against civilians. Coalition forces are now focusing on applying pressure on Gadhafi's ground forces that are attacking civilians, Hueber said. That includes targeting Libya's mechanized forces and artillery and interdicting supply lines for "beans and bullets," he said.

The no-fly zone now spans Libya from east to west along its coastline, Hueber added.

[10:41 a.m. Wednesday ET, 4:41 p.m. in Libya] France's foreign minister said NATO will not take political leadership of the international coalition's mission in Libya, but will play a role in planning and operations to enforce the United Nations-backed no-fly zone. The minister, Alain Juppe, said a commission composed of foreign ministers from the participating coalition states will make the political decisions.

[10:37 a.m. Wednesday ET, 4:37 p.m. in Libya] Despite the freezing of its assets under a U.N. resolution, Libya could use its stockpile of gold to keep its government going, the BBC and CNN have reported. Libya's central bank is said to hold about $6 billion worth of gold.

[10:02 a.m. Wednesday ET, 4:02 p.m. in Libya] Some signs of normalcy sprouted in the besieged western Libyan town of Misrata after a night of coalition airstrikes that witnesses said targeted encampments of forces loyal to Moammar Gadhafi. "It is relatively quiet today - this is the first time we feel that way in weeks," said Mohammed, an opposition spokesman in the city who would only give his first name. "We want to express our gratitude to the international community since there were airstrikes this morning."

[9:18 a.m. Wednesday ET, 3:18 p.m. in Libya] U.S. aircraft dropped a precision-guided munition on the F-15E that crashed Tuesday to fully destroy it, a U.S. military official said.

[7:31 a.m. Wednesday ET, 1:31 p.m. in Libya] Three journalists seized in Libya over the weekend have been released, Agence France-Presse said. AFP reporters Dave Clark and Roberto Schmidt and Getty Images photographer Joe Raedle were arrested near the eastern town of Ajdabiya on Saturday. The three were released in Tripoli.

[12:37 a.m. Wednesday ET, 6:37 a.m. Wednesday in Libya] Several loud explosions and heavy anti-aircraft gunfire rang out in the western part of the Libyan capital at dawn Wednesday.

The source of the blasts and gunfire in Tripoli were unclear, but there is a large military base in the area.

Hours earlier, Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi had vowed to fight back against international forces seeking to impose a no-fly zone in his country. "We will not give up," he said to a crowd of supporters in a speech broadcast on state television Tuesday. "They will not terrorize us. We will defeat them by any method."

- As of Tuesday, the U.S. military has flown 212 sorties over Libya, while 124 were flown by other coalition forces. A total of 108 strikes have been carried out and 162 Tomahawk missiles have been fired, the U.S. military reported.

– Libya’s central bank holds billions of dollars worth of gold, and despite the no-fly zone and sanctions, this could be useful to Gadhafi as he tries to survive, an international commercial attorney says.

– The United States' costs related to the military intervention in Libya already are in the hundreds of millions of dollars, and this has sparked a debate over funding, CNNMoney reports.

To date, the United States has spent some $225 million firing Tomahawk missiles, according to CNN estimates based on U.S. Navy figures. The cost could reach up to $800 million to fully establish the no-fly zone and another $100 million a week to maintain it going forward, said Zack Cooper, a senior analyst for the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments.

soundoff (423 Responses)
  1. PUTO


    March 23, 2011 at 11:43 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Fred S.

    The Misrata Hospital was probably being used by CIA sponsored insurgents to snipe at governmet forces. I mean they are at war with the Evil Empire. And the insurgents are firing on their own people during a war. You always support your own people during a war. Otherwise you are a traitor. During time of war, treason is punishable by execution. You have to see it from their point of view. How do you like that, NSA/"Satan"? I am thinking of replacing that no good police state currently known as Israel with Libya.

    March 24, 2011 at 12:04 am | Report abuse |
  3. tara

    I have to say, with 405 blogs , i didnt read all of them. so i apologize if some statements are repeated. but my take on this whole sistuation is, look at osama binladen, what happen when we rubbed him wrong and he is now running amuck. planning another strike on our people or sudaam hussain when he was killing his own people and we went into desert storm. we wound up hanging him and stableizing iraq. what makes you think that if we dont take full action and instead of accidently killing quadafi, which would be a crime. we do call it a war, take him out, get someone else to run the country, (trustworthy). use them billions in gold share the wealth restableize, and go on. because if we dont. we are going to see another 911. just because of politicly correct bad dession Making. do we really want that?? i sure dont. and to think he wont retaliate you are all wrong, maybe not right away . but it will happen. he has billions and womd.... if we dont declare war. it will be our own demise.

    March 24, 2011 at 12:17 am | Report abuse |
  4. Canadian

    Hopefully us Canadians can play a bigger role in this situation, although today we've struck gold, we took out a munitions post with tank shells, mortar rounds, artillery rounds, rockets etc. without any casualties. God bless you all, hope France will take charge since they pushed this and struck first. Grow a pair Francois! LOL! If not we'll send Quebec after France....wait won't happen LOL!

    March 24, 2011 at 12:19 am | Report abuse |
  5. frank t

    When the law was enacted for the commander an chief to sustain a short term act without the congressional permission, i do not think current technology was considered. 2 weeks used to mean establishing a no fly zone and maybe taking out a few sams. Now 2 weeks means 400 billion in ordinance and wiping out an entire government if nescessary without anybodys vote ,permission or opinion. too much power in 1 persons hand.

    March 24, 2011 at 12:35 am | Report abuse |
  6. tara

    To finish on my recent blog. it is not like i agree with the us getting involved. but the the fact of the matter, is that we did. and now we just cant sit back and wait for him to repay our ugly services. thats too dangerous. 911 happened ten years ago that means osama binladen has had that long to teach another army in his honer. so people who were 10 years old, are now 20 years old. just wait on that one, and he gives no warning. as we sad as that statement is. Leaders are killing their own people all over this world. and we are doing nothing. so what is this really about. does anyone watch glen beck?? dont get me wrong he can be a little out of control. but he has been correct on all of how this has played out. but i think he is just sincere and can see what is right in front of us all. you cant just rely on one news station, because like a political party. you could have it all wrong. i watch every news station and have an open veiw. you know its bad when john stewart is making fun of obamas words

    March 24, 2011 at 12:39 am | Report abuse |
  7. tara

    Here is a history lesson for all you youngsters. the last time france and america interveined in someone eleses civil war it was called did that work out for us??or the people of cambodia?my point is we distableized the whole reigon.And didnt learn a thing. history does repeat itself.

    March 24, 2011 at 1:30 am | Report abuse |
  8. kamau

    let's keep it real.This war is a imperialist war.It's classic colonialism.The historic imperialist nations of western europe and the u.s.a. are doing what they have always done,do, and will continue to do until they are defeated.Moreover,this is also "class struggle" in libya left over from the colonial epoch of the 1885 berlin conference of the european division of Africa into different spheres of influence.England,France,Belgium,The Neatherlands,Spain,Portugal,German and Italy to name a few were all ivolved in the colonilist division of Africa.Libya was colonized by Italy during the mad scramble of 1885.Now that we have proper context we can proceed to have a intelligent debate.It is a CLASS STRUGGLE because their are some forces in libya that suffer from a neo-colonialist mentality and these are the libyans that suffer from a inferority complex and love their colonial masters.Now, the real revolutionary forces are the class that despise colonialism and rightly so,well these forces[revolutionary forces]want Libya to remain a free and independent nation-state.In addition to this being a classic "class stuggle" it is also an "Ideological struggle.This happen in all societies that come from under colonialism.America didnot establish "Demo-crazy" right away as much as they would like people to think.Finally,the people of Libya have a historic right to go through this phase of the revolutionary process where the seeds were planted by colonialism,neo-colonialism whish is the last stage of imperialism.okay now i know that some people who support thsi racist form of imperialism will be upset because this writer actually did some research and colonialist supporters cannot see outside of their racist prism and cannot stand the fact that other people can think too.Imperialisms "GRAVE" will be in AFRICA and by the way LIBYA is in AFRIKA.

    March 24, 2011 at 3:07 am | Report abuse |
  9. spirit warrior 27

    I hope our combined efforts with the united nations can wipe that dirtbag gaddafi off the face of the earth!!! he doesn't deserve to live after the mass killing of his own people! what kind of a person handcuffs his own soldiers to their military vehicles because hes so worried their going to run away in fear. guess what? it wasn't a happy ending for those libyan soldiers they were blown up from our air attacks!! that was awesome our two us pilots were rescued. thank god for the rebels taking care of our us pilot until he was picked up from the us military. god bless america and our us military!!!!

    March 24, 2011 at 4:04 am | Report abuse |
  10. williams

    The world is full of people without direction, if US refuse to intervene over the killing of innocent people by a heartless leader they will still complain, if US intervene people will still complain against it. Obama your are doing what is right to establish justice and equity on earth, people can say what they want to say. The lost of one soul is greater the material
    world so no leader has the right to kill people because the he what lead and not make way for others to develop their God given potentials. is Gaddfi the only person in llibya who knows how to lead? change is constant.

    March 24, 2011 at 6:17 am | Report abuse |
  11. ScarletPhoenix

    @Alan You reference Hitler interestingly, I don't remember the Jews holding RPG's directed at Hitler. Hitler committed real genocide. Gaddafi is fighting against extremely armed rebels from god knows where. When egyptians where protesting they didn't have any rpg's or tanks or guns. This my friend is a coup. Obama is either getting paid off or an idiot for getting involved. Gaddafi threatened BP's oil contracts just last month. It's about oil and gold not to mention strategic locations. You think they are going to let him stand for that. Obama himself said the international community called for action. Apparently Sarkozy owes Gaddafi money and BP wants their oil, which is why uk and france would called for intervention and even back rebels. Open your eyes people. Gaddafi may not be the greatest, but that doesn't give us a right to bomb him for defending against armed rebels and call it innocent civilians. You think our country would allow armed civilians to take a city in revolt and not use force? This is a staged coup!!! GET OUT OF LIBYA!

    March 24, 2011 at 8:29 am | Report abuse |
    • ScarletPhoenix

      All the medias are blasting Gaddafi as a crazy tyrant and but you can research him yourself in his own words on his website and in speeches he's given.(Not wikipedia which is written by whomever whenever) He talks about democracy frequently. He talks about logical solutions to problem in the world. This is not a lunatic. This is not Ahmadinejad threatening people on live tv.This is man who was called the King of kings of Africa and he's being removed and slandered because he's stood up against the imperialists. I'm american and white and I can see this. This is hypocrisy in it's highest form.

      March 24, 2011 at 12:09 pm | Report abuse |
  12. bbarc

    "At that time Michael shall stand up,
    The great prince who stands watch over the sons of your people;
    And there shall be a time of trouble,
    Such as never was since there was a nation.
    Even to that time.
    And at that time your people shall be delivered,
    Everyone who is found written in the book.
    And manyof those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake,
    Some to everlasting life,
    Some to shame and everlasting contempt.
    Those who are wise shall shine
    Like the brightest of the firmament.
    And those who turn many to righteousness
    Like the stars forever and ever.
    "But you, Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book until the time of the end;
    many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase."
    Then I, Daniel. looked; and there on the riverbank stood two other,
    one on this riverbank and the other on that riverbank.
    And one said to the man clothed in linen, who was above the waters of the river,
    "How long shall the fulfillment of these wonders be?'

    March 24, 2011 at 7:38 pm | Report abuse |
  13. bbarc

    Re Blog @ 7:43p – Daniel 12:1-6

    March 24, 2011 at 7:43 pm | Report abuse |
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