Libya live blog: Coalition confirms strike on Gadhafi compound
A four-story building at the Tripoli compound of Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi was damaged Sunday night, apparently by a coalition airstrike.
March 20th, 2011
10:53 AM ET

Libya live blog: Coalition confirms strike on Gadhafi compound

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.

[10:51 p.m. Sunday ET, 4:51 a.m. Monday in Libya] An announced list of the countries participating in the military coalition: The United States, Belgium, Britain, Canada, Denmark, France, Italy, Norway, Qatar and Spain.

U.S. officials have said they plan to hand over operational control of the military mission in coming days.

[8:55 p.m. Sunday ET, 2:55 a.m. Monday in Libya] In the following video, CNN's Nic Robertson reports on his visit to the building - in Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi's compound in Tripoli - that apparently was struck in a coalition airstrike Sunday night. (A coalition official confirmed, after Robertson's report, that it had targeted the compound.)

[8:36 p.m. Sunday ET, 2:36 a.m. Monday in Libya] A coalition military official has confirmed that Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi's compound in Tripoli was targeted by airstrikes Sunday night, CNN's Chris Lawrence reported.

The official said the compound was targeted because it contains capabilities to exercise command and control over Libyan forces and the coalition goal is to degrade his military capabilities. The official said neither Gadhafi nor his residence was the intended target.

Earlier, the Libyan government said at least one missile struck a building inside the compound Sunday night. Western journalists, including CNN's Nic Robertson, were brought inside the compound to survey the destruction.

[8:26 p.m. Sunday ET, 2:26 a.m. Monday in Libya] Oil prices jumped more than $2 a barrel in electronic trading Sunday following escalating violence in Libya, where international forces fired on Libyan defense sites, CNNMoney reported.

The benchmark U.S. contract, West Texas Intermediate, for April delivery gained $1.95 to $103.02 a barrel. The more active May contract jumped $2.08 to $103.93 a barrel.

[8:10 p.m. Sunday ET, 2:10 a.m. Monday in Libya] The Gadhafi-compound building in Tripoli that was damaged in what may have been a missile attack Sunday night is about 150 yards away from a Gadhafi building that was struck in a 1986 U.S. airstrike, CNN's Nic Robertson reported.

[7:56 p.m. Sunday ET, 1:56 a.m. Monday in Libya] A member of the Libyan opposition told CNN that the Gadhafi government collected bodies of people killed in fighting in the past week and displayed them over the weekend, trying to show they were killed by coalition airstrikes. The claim by Ahmed Gebreel, who cited eyewitnesses and medical officials, could not be verified by CNN.

The Libyan government has claimed that women, children and clerics have died in allied attacks.

[7:15 p.m. Sunday ET, 1:15 a.m. Monday in Libya] A building at Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi's compound in Tripoli was damaged by at least one missile about 2.5 hours ago, a Libyan government official tells CNN's Nic Robertson.

Robertson said government officials took him to the four-story building. The roof has collapsed, he said. Robertson said he isn't able to verify what caused the damage, but the government's timeline coincides with a blast that Robertson heard late Sunday, and the building looks as if it were hit by missiles, Robertson reported.

Robertson said he doesn't know where Gadhafi is, and that there is no evidence that he is at the compound. No one was injured in the strike on the building, a Libyan government official told Robertson.

U.S. officials earlier Sunday said they are not targeting Gadhafi.

[6:36 p.m. Sunday ET, 12:36 a.m. Monday in Libya] President Obama and his national security team made phone calls Sunday to try to shore up support in Arab governments for the military mission in Libya, with top White House aides reaching out to officials of the Arab League to insist the bombing does not exceed the scope of a U.N. mandate, according to senior administration officials.

The lobbying came after Arab League officials complained earlier Sunday that airstrikes in Libya by the U.S. military and allies went beyond instituting a no-fly zone, CNN's Ed Henry reports. The senior officials said the Obama team stressed to the Arab League that bombing Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi's air defenses falls within the U.N. Security Council resolution's scope of imposing a no-fly zone and taking "all necessary measures" to stop the dictator from attacking civilians in his own country.

[5:57 p.m. Sunday ET, 11:57 p.m. in Libya] Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Sunday that the Libyan operation is off to a "a strong and successful start" but he warned against widening the goals of the mission beyond what was spelled out in the United Nations Security Council resolution. Gates spoke from aboard a U.S. military aircraft en route to Russia.

[5:40 p.m. Sunday ET, 11:40 p.m. in Libya] Reacting to the Libyan military's calling a cease-fire with rebels, a British prime minister's office spokesman drew attention to the Libyan government's previous call for a cease-fire, made Friday.

"Everyone will recall that in recent days Col. Gadhafi declared a ceasefire which was promptly violated," the 10 Downing Street spokesman said. "We said then we would judge him on his actions not his words - and we will do so again.

"His obligations are very clearly set out by the U.N. Security Council resolution. Our assessment is that he is in breach of these obligations so we will continue to enforce the resolution."

The Libyan government had called for a cease-fire with rebels on Friday. Rebels and Western governments, however, said the Libyan military continued to fight against the opposition, leading to the international coalition's airstrikes and no-fly-zone implementation on Saturday night.

[5:35 p.m. Sunday ET, 11:35 p.m. in Libya] More on U.S. Vice Adm. Bill Gortney comments on Gadhafi: Gortney was asked about reports of smoking rise from the area of Gadhafi's palace. Gortney said: "We are not targeting his residence."

[5:16 p.m. Sunday ET, 11:16 p.m. in Libya] In his press briefing earlier this afternoon, U.S. Vice Adm. Bill Gortney emphasized that the international coalition's air campaign is not deisgned to target Gadhafi, but is limited to enforcing a no-fly zone and preventing Gadhafi's forces from further pressing rebel positions.

"We are not going after Gadhafi," Gortney said at the Pentagon. "Regime forces are more pressed and less free to maneuver."

Despite Libyan government contentions that women, children and clerics have died in allied attacks, Gortney and other officials said that's not the case. "We have no indication of any civilian casualties," the admiral said.

[4:47 p.m. Sunday ET, 10:47 p.m. in Libya] Reacting to the Libyan military's call Sunday night for an immediate cease-fire, a spokesman for the U.S. military's Africa Command said that "we have to wait and see if it's genuine."

"We urge the Libyan government to do everything it can to demonstrate its sincerity," U.S. Africa Command spokesman Vince Crawley told CNN.

The Libyan government previously had called for a cease-fire with rebels on Friday. Rebels and Western governments, however, said the Libyan military continued to fight against the opposition, leading to the international coalition's airstrikes and no-fly-zone implementation on Saturday night.

Gadhafi's forces shelled opposition forces in the west of the country on Sunday before the call for the cease-fire was made, according to rebels.

[4:42 p.m. Sunday ET, 10:42 p.m. in Libya] Anti-Gadhafi forces are heartened by international coalition attacks that smashed a convoy of about 70 military vehicles belonging to pro-Gadhafi forces outside of Benghazi on Sunday. But they are increasingly concerned that pro-government elements within Benghazi's population will carry out intimidation campaigns and targeted assassinations of opposition leaders in the rebel stronghold in eastern Libya, CNN's Arwa Damon reports.

[4:34 p.m. Sunday ET, 10:34 p.m. in Libya] Senator Richard Lugar, R-Indiana, has questioned the decision by the United States to pursue military action in Libya without clearly defined objectives, and expressed concern over the role of the U.S. in Libya's future.

"Where does our involvement stop?" Lugar, the ranking Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, asked. "This is why, before it begins, we ought to have a plan and we ought to have outcomes defined as to why American forces, American money are going to be at stake."

[4:23 p.m. Sunday ET, 10:23 p.m. in Libya] U.S. House Speaker John Boehner has released a sharply worded statement in Washington pressing President Barack Obama to lay out more detail about the administration's goals in Libya.

"Before any further military commitments are made, the administration must do a better job of communicating to the American people and to Congress about our mission in Libya and how it will be achieved," Boehner said in the prepared statement.

Shortly after Boehner's statement was released, Obama - who is in Brazil - said in a speech that the people of Libya have taken "a courageous stand against a regime determined to brutalize its own citizens."

"Across the region, we have seen young people rise up – a new generation demanding the right to determine their own future," added Obama. "From the beginning, we have made clear that the change they seek must be driven by their own people."

[4:08 p.m. Sunday ET, 10:08 p.m. in Libya] At least two explosions could be heard moments ago in Libya's capital, and anti-aircraft fire has followed, CNN's Nic Robertson reported.

[4:06 p.m. Sunday ET, 10:06 p.m. in Libya] Coalition strikes have been "very effective in significantly degrading the regime's air defense capability," U.S Vice Adm. William Gortney said in a briefing Sunday.

[3:37 p.m. Sunday ET, 9:37 p.m. in Libya] The United States and Britain have now fired a total of 124 Tomahawk missiles at Libya's air defense sites since strikes began Saturday night, Africa Command spokesman Vince Crawley says.

[3:04 p.m. Sunday ET, 9:04 p.m. in Libya] The Libyan military has called for an immediate cease-fire, an army spokesman announced Sunday.

The Libyan government previously had called for a cease-fire with rebels on Friday. Rebels and Western governments, however, said the Libyan military continued to fight against the opposition, leading to the international coalition's airstrikes and no-fly-zone implementation on Saturday night.

[2:27 p.m. Sunday ET, 8:27 p.m. in Libya] Libya initiated anti-aircraft fire into the Tripoli sky Sunday night, though an attack by allied forces was not apparent, CNN's Nic Robertson reported.

[2:04 p.m. Sunday ET, 8:05 p.m. in Libya] A senior doctor at the medical center in Benghazi, Libya, confirmed Sunday that 95 people were killed and an unknown number injured in Saturday's assault on the city by pro-Gadhafi forces.

[1:53 p.m. Sunday ET, 7:53 p.m. in Libya] U.S. President Barack Obama participated in a secure conference call and received a briefing on U.S. military operations in Libya on Sunday morning, the White House said in a statement.

[1:34 p.m. Sunday ET, 7:24 p.m. in Libya] The Arab League was holding an emergency session at its headquarters in Cairo, Egypt. Hisham Youssef, Arab League Chief of Staff, told CNN, "We are currently studying the situation and evaluating the air strikes to be able to decide." He said the League has not "taken any stand or reached a final decision." Read more about the Arab League and its role in the Libyan crisis. Watch CNN's Reza Sayah discuss the Arab League.

[1:15 p.m. Sunday ET,  7 p.m. in Libya] Qatar has offered to send four fighter planes to the coalition effort, the French Defense Ministry said.

[11:45 a.m. Sunday ET, 5:45 p.m. in Libya] Italy announced that as of midnight Sunday, four Tornado warplanes and four F-16s will be made available.

[11:00 a.m. Sunday ET, 5 p.m. in Libya] A critique of the U.S. involvement in the military intervention in Libya that will no doubt be common in coming days is that the Obama administration is making a large error by embarking on a war with a third Muslim country, as if reversing Moammar Gadhafi's momentum against the rebels will be a rerun of the debacle of the war against Saddam Hussein. Peter Bergen explains why what's happening Libya isn't the same as what happened in Iraq.

[10:45 a.m. Sunday ET, 4:45 p.m. in Libya] Russia urged coalition nations to stop the use of force against Libya, challenging the use of the U.N. no-fly zone resolution as a "controversial step." In a statement published on its website, Russia's Foreign Ministry said air strikes carried out by coalition forces killed 48 civilians and injured 150.

[10 a.m. Sunday ET, 4 p.m. in Libya] Turkey will serve as a "protecting power" for the United States in Libya, senior State Department officials told CNN. As a protecting power, Turkey will represent the United States in Libya, including acting as consular officers on behalf of U.S. citizens in Libya and looking after American diplomatic facilities in the country. Turkey can also pass messages between the U.S. and Libya. Full story

[8:23 a.m. Sunday ET, 2:23 p.m. in Libya] A military convoy near Benghazi in eastern Libya was destroyed by multiple airstrikes, leaving charred bodies, tanks and trucks, CNN's Arwa Damon reported from the scene.

- A no-fly zone in Libya is "effectively in place," U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen told CNN.

[6:53 a.m. Sunday ET, 12:53 p.m. in Libya] Forces loyal to Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi were shelling the city of Misrata on Sunday, using tanks, artillery and cannons, a witness said. Rebels in the city were fighting back, the witness said. There was no immediate word on casualties.

[6:36 a.m. Sunday ET, 12:36 p.m. in Libya] Nineteen U.S. warplanes, including stealth bombers and fighter jets, conducted strike operations in Libya on Sunday morning. The warplanes included Marine Corps Harrier Jets, Air Force B-2 stealth bombers, and F-15 and F-16 fighter jets, according to Lt. Cmdr. James Stockman of U.S. Africa Command. It is the next phase in the operation that started Saturday with the launch of more than 110 Tomahawk Cruise missiles from U.S. and British warships and subs.

[5:40 a.m. Sunday ET, 11:40 a.m. in Libya] In another defiant speech, Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi promised "a long-drawn war" after international airstrikes in his country by the United States and allies.

"You have proven to the world that you are not civilized, that you are terrorists - animals attacking a safe nation that did nothing against you," Gadhafi said in a televised speech.

Throughout the address, an image of a golden fist crushing a model plane that said "USA" filled the screen.

Gadhafi said the strikes was a confrontation between the Libyan people and "the new Nazis."

"If the men are killed, then the women will take over. They will hold the green flag high," he said.

[5:35 a.m. Sunday ET, 11:35 a.m. in Libya] An eyewitnesses in Misrata claims there is heavy artillery and tank fire under way in the town. The eyewitness also claims no aircraft have been seen or heard.

[5:26 a.m. Sunday ET, 11:26 a.m. in Libya] Libyan TV has announced that Moammar Gadhafi "will address the Libyan people shortly to address the nation concerning the assault of the crusaders against the people of Libya."

[1:10 a.m. Sunday ET, 7:10 a.m. in Libya] Fighter jets were seen flying over the Libyan city of Benghazi on Sunday morning. It was not immediately clear who the fighter jets belonged to.

China's foreign ministry expressed regret over the military strike on Libya and said it does not agree with use of force in international relations.

The Spanish armed forces will send four F-18 planes, a refueling plane, an F-100 frigate, a submarine and a maritime surveillance aircraft to Libya.

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez denounced the military intervention in Libya, and slammed the United States and the United Nations. "They (the U.S.) want to appropriate the oil in Libya; they don't care about anyone's life in that region," he said, according to Venezuelan state media. "When have they cared about the lives in those places if they keep on bombing Iran and Afghanistan?"

A defiant Gadhafi said Libya will fight back against undeserved "naked aggression." His military claimed nearly 50 people, including, women, children and clerics, were killed in Saturday evening's attacks.

American, French and British military forces, convinced that Gadhafi was not adhering to a United Nations-mandated cease-fire, hammered Libyan military positions with missiles and fighter jets in the first phase of an operation that will include enforcement of a no-fly zone.

French fighter jets deployed over Libya fired at a military vehicle Saturday, the first strike against Gadhafi's military forces, which earlier attacked the rebel stronghold of Benghazi.

Gadhafi, speaking early Sunday on Libyan state TV, said the U.N. charter provides for Libya's right to defend itself in a "war zone." Weapons depots will be opened, he said.

U.S. President Barack Obama authorized U.S. military force from Brazil on what happened to be the eighth anniversary of the start of the war in Iraq.

In the next few days, U.S. military officials expect to hand over control to a coalition commander. Canada and Italy also are part of the coalition.

soundoff (685 Responses)
  1. Mark

    CNN Don Lemon should stop mis quoting the president, and making inaccurate statements.....Really bad announcer that tries to change the words of the reporters in the field. CNN should fine a better announcer!!!

    March 20, 2011 at 11:12 pm | Report abuse |
  2. African voice

    I do regret the way the G-8 are acting in Libya. I know that the term rebel stands for someone who rejects the codes and conventions of society. I thought the G8 are acting as rebel or those who do not keep the law of society. It seems like the G8 means 8 gangs who do not respect the code of the society. I do not agree with the opposition Libyan and international community trying to solve the upraising in Libya in violence instead of promoting peace and diplomacy.
    Those Libyans who support what is going now in Libya will regret it as Congolese are regreting Mobutu, after the International community armed and equipped the Tutsi of rwanda to invade Congo and killed 6,000,000 people and installed in power Joseph Kabila non educated president

    March 20, 2011 at 11:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • ellen durant

      AND let Libyans know it will be even harder to get rid of those people helping the rebels should need arise in the near future and by that time, their oil will be long gone.

      March 22, 2011 at 4:34 pm | Report abuse |
  3. African voice

    so far Gadhafi did destroy buildings and aeroport in Libya but it seems the forces of coallition are destrying and causing more demages. It is the way of making peace?????????? in the world

    March 20, 2011 at 11:34 pm | Report abuse |
  4. The Voice of Reason

    Ghadafi is toast - kill him now or hang him later, he can ask Saddam where he screwed up when they meet again soon, his fait is sealed.

    But I do wonder what Obama would do if we in Texas decide that we don't want to be part of his mess, and want to go our own way. Will he say, oh hell yes, you can do whatever you want, or would he send in armed troops? Maybe the coalition would come to our aid. LOL, American interests, what else is new from the past 10 Administrations (excepting that limp loser impotent home builder Jimmy Carter).

    "Yes we can," yes we can what, kill lots of other people if we want to?

    March 20, 2011 at 11:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • ellen durant

      And the funny part is, when the US leaders create enemies, its the general public that suffers the consequences.

      March 22, 2011 at 4:37 pm | Report abuse |
  5. African voice

    why all of the westerns countries are destroying Tripoli when Gadhafi who built did not destroy it. Please stop your massacre
    If democracy is good for western but it is not good for other societies, are we again in 19th century to colonize and civilize the Africans?????? Please stop the massacre war is evil even though we call it NO FLY ZONE

    March 20, 2011 at 11:48 pm | Report abuse |
  6. African voice

    Don Lemon tell who are going to pay for Libya war???

    March 20, 2011 at 11:52 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Gil Baba

    Who is this African voice?

    March 20, 2011 at 11:54 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Walter

    Maybe Haiti and Libya can work out a deal and Ghadafi can be president of Haiti and Libya can have Wyclef Jean. It's worth a try!

    March 20, 2011 at 11:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • ellen durant

      How about Bush 2 being the president of Libya.

      March 22, 2011 at 4:39 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Dee

    I certainly hope our journalist remain safe in Libya and are not used as pawns by Gadahfi. He is an evil man and will do anything to protect himself and his family.

    Stay safe Journalist and continue to bring us the news without jeopardizing your life we will keep you in our prayers.

    March 21, 2011 at 12:14 am | Report abuse |
  10. balan

    Gadhafi ask advise from srilankan president before attack his own peoples.srilankan president killed so many tamils.

    March 21, 2011 at 12:15 am | Report abuse |
  11. somuchfor

    So sad the wackos are on this blog now. There were much better, salient comments in the last two days.

    March 21, 2011 at 12:31 am | Report abuse |
    • ellen durant

      you are worse than Qaddafi. If someone says his point of view which you may not agree with does not make him/her a WARCO!

      March 22, 2011 at 4:42 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Roger Harding

    It was necessary to take out this dictator, but i that the no fly zone came a little late to have much impact without putting boots on the ground. U.S. special forces have been in Libya since February training rebel forces, but considering that the rebels have lost most of there territory its going to take a lot more than that.

    March 21, 2011 at 1:44 am | Report abuse |
    • Vidar

      No, it was not necessary, because the Libyan leader is more righteous before the Living God than the so-called 'rebels' who want to kill him. Obama and the European leaders are committing a great sin against Libya, the people of Libya and against their leader whom they are trying to murder.

      June 9, 2011 at 7:02 pm | Report abuse |
  13. VoiceOfTruth

    It is too sad our Nation has lost our own sense of values. We have allowed the truth to take a back seat in almost every important issue as the Media and political parties are becoming stronger bedfellows that lead the USA down a path leading to our own failure. Obama is no different than the leader of Libya. The media is no different than the leader of Libya. The USA needs to find the spirit and courage as a people entirely as our founding fathers had and take a stand against the corruption and destruction that Obama (whom is not even an American) is doing to our Nation. The media also caters to "opinion" rather than truth. We have allowed the worst idiot in this Nation's history be elected President. The media has failed as usual to clearly spell out any truth about who Obama really is. The media would much rather exploit what happens according to "opinions. There are greater evils and wrongful activities taking place right here in the USA than what is ongoing in Libya. Where do you read that Obama has spent more money by the TRILLIONS than all the added up amounts spent from George Washington thru George Bush? Trillions spent that we do not have and we will not ever have. Bernie Maddoff only ripped off people for billions and got plenty of media attention about his crime yet you will read nothing or hear nothing of what Obama has illegally done. I would like to represent the majority of Americans that want all the corrupt politicians out of our Nation that includes politicians from both parties. I desire to see a President that is from the USA that is not a liar that is proud of this Nation and is not merely interestedin seeing how much of OUR money he can waste on hairbrained programs and golf vacations. A President that has no ties to corruption such as the media and ACORN and that all the rest of those full time politicians in both parties that are only interested in serving to bank taxpayers money into their own estates, to be run out of this Nation! Will the U.N. Appove a Coalition for military action if necessary for the removal of the dictator President Obama and the rest of the criminals that are in this Nation that are destroying our republic? We should be far more concerned with the USA than Libya. The media played a larger role in what everyone involved now with what is ongoing in Libya than the world will ever know. The media helped create the current level of war ongoing in Libya. The media fanned a smoldering flicker into a world wide fire regarding Libya. Shame on you.

    March 21, 2011 at 3:36 am | Report abuse |
    • Vidar

      Thank you, dear 'VoiceOfTruth'. Well said, and I am glad there are people like you who realize the truth of this matter. It was a big sin for the Obama to start bombing Libya. I wrote him and told him so in my letters to him. I have told him over and over from day one! I told him that the rebels are not the majority by far. Most Libyans support their leader. Obama has not listened to good advice because he is deceived by the evil counsel of his advisers. I received a letter of thanks for my congratulations to him on stopping OBL, but no letter of thanks for my advice on Libya.

      June 9, 2011 at 7:12 pm | Report abuse |
  14. ash123

    Everything that's going on in the world is the sign of the times!!!! It's happening folks, just brace yourselves!! And be on your best behavior!!!

    March 21, 2011 at 5:12 am | Report abuse |
    • Vidar

      You got that right! Thank you!

      June 9, 2011 at 7:32 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Chuck

    We as americans should be upset with Ghadafi, this guy was schooled in the School of Americans, in Fort Benning, Ga on how to run his country by military means in the early 70's. He is doing what he trained to do. We built this guy and made him who he is.

    March 21, 2011 at 1:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • Vidar

      Hey Chuck, As leader for his people, he is only doing what any responsible leader, who has 'the Base' in his neighborhood would do for his people and his country. The rebels were people who had a violent agenda, and they high jacked a peaceful demonstration and started violence. They are deceived people.

      June 9, 2011 at 7:39 pm | Report abuse |
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