Libya live blog: 'Libyans are laughing at these rockets,' Gadhafi says
Addressing a crowd of supporters Tuesday, Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi ridicules coalition forces attacking his country.
March 22nd, 2011
10:44 PM ET

Libya live blog: 'Libyans are laughing at these rockets,' Gadhafi says

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.

[11:37 p.m. Tuesday ET, 3:50 a.m. Wednesday in Libya] Loud explosions rocked the Libyan capitol of Tripoli early Wednesday. Hours before, Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi 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."

[9:33 p.m. Tuesday ET, 3:33 a.m. Wednesday in Libya] We were unable to update the blog for the past few hours due to technical difficulties. Here's what we missed:

- 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.

- More on U.S. President Barack Obama's comments in El Salvador: He said that once leadership of the military mission in Libya shifts from the United States to an international coalition, "it is not going to be our planes maintaining the no-fly zone" and "it is not going to be our ships that are necessarily involved in enforcing the arms embargo."

Obama said the international support for the military mission, with NATO allies and Arab nations taking part, meant that "the United States is not going to be bearing all the costs."

- Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi has told a crowd of supporters that he will emerge victorious in his battle with international forces.

"We will not give up," he said, many of them waving green flags in a speech broadcast on state television. "They will not terrorize us. We are making fun of their rockets. The Libyans are laughing at these rockets. We will defeat them by any method."

Gadhafi called the coalition's efforts "blatant aggression by a group of fascists" and predicted the coalition's members "will be sent to history's dustbin."

He said Libyans "are leading the international war against imperialism, against despots and I tell you, I do not scare."

- U.S. President Barack Obama, speaking during a trip in El Salvador, said the Libyan people will remain under threat as long as Moammar Gadhafi remains in power, unless Gadhafi "changes his approach."

Obama said that military mission has already saved lives in the rebel controlled city of Benghazi by preventing Gadhafi from unleashing his military on people there, Obama said. In the end, he said, the American people "are going to be satisfied that lives were saved" by the U.S. military action.

Obama said he had "no doubt" that the United States will be able to shift control of the Libyan military mission to an international coalition, and that the timetable for such a transition continued to be in coming days, rather than weeks. Read about the squabbling among NATO countries over who, exactly, will take control of the mission.

- Four children in the same family were among 13 civilians killed Tuesday during clashes between Gadhafi forces and revels in Misrarta, a city under siege two hours east of Tripoli, said Dr. Khaled Mansouri of Misrata Central Hospital.

Mansouri told CNN about 30 other people were injured in Misrata on Tuesday. The death toll from the clashes in the city stands at 90 over the last five days.

- The United States expects additional Arab support for the coalition enforcing the no-fly zone over Libya, a senior administration official told reporters, according to CNN’s Elise Labott. So far, Qatar is the only Arab country that has contributed planes to the mission.

The official, who could not be named because of the sensitivity of the diplomacy, said several Arab states are in the process of finalizing their plans, adding the Obama administration was "confident we will have further concrete contributions of different kinds" for enforcement of the resolution in the next two to three days.

- More information regarding a U.S. Air Force jet that crashed in Libya late Monday night: It went down after experiencing an equipment malfunction, the U.S. military said. Both crew members ejected safely and are now out of Libya and in American hands, the U.S. military said.

A pilot and weapons officer aboard the F-15E Strike Eagle had flown from Aviano Air Base in Italy to Libya when the fighter experienced problems, the U.S. military command for Africa said in a statement. Both pilots ejected and landed safely in Libya.

Here's a PDF of the military’s timeline of the incident and rescues.

- More on comments from Adm. Samuel Locklear III, commander of U.S. Naval Forces Europe and Africa: He said multinational airstrikes would continue until Moammar Gadhafi stops attacking his people. So far, he said, Gadhafi is violating the Security Council resolution by continuing to using force.

[3:50 p.m. Tuesday ET, 9:50 p.m. Tuesday in Libya] Tension is mounting between allies about who should command the mission to protect civilians and enforce a no-fly zone in Libya, CNN's Paula Newton reports.

After heated exchanges between NATO ambassadors in Brussels, the alliance announced Tuesday an operation to enforce an arms embargo against Libya, but it went no further on deciding if or when NATO would take command of the military mission already under way, in which several allies are participating.

The United States has expressed its desire to take a back seat in the operation and hand over any command role to European allies. Italy is demanding that NATO take a lead role in the military and political decision-making for the mission; France is reluctant to submit to NATO command.

[12:31 p.m. Tuesday ET, 6:31 p.m. Tuesday in Libya] The power of Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi's air force has been diminished to the point where it will "not have any negative impact" on coalition members conducting airstrikes, Adm. Samuel Locklear III, commander of U.S. Naval Forces Europe and Africa, said Tuesday.

[12:24 p.m. Tuesday ET, 6:24 p.m. Tuesday in Libya] Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi's forces are attacking civilians in the city of Misrata, Adm. Samuel Locklear III, commander of U.S. Naval Forces Europe and Africa, told reporters Tuesday. "We will continue to make him comply" with the United Nations Security Council resolution, Locklear said.

[12:01 p.m. Tuesday ET, 6:01 p.m. Tuesday in Libya] A senior defense official says both the pilot and weapons officer from an Air Force F1-5 that crashed in Libya are now safely out of the country.

[10:44 a.m. Tuesday ET, 4:44 p.m. Tuesday in Libya] The port in the Libyan capital of Tripoli appears to have been hit by a missile strike overnight, CNN's Nic Robertson reports. He says he can see the smoldering remains of several large military rocket launcher systems. Witnesses told CNN they saw missiles strike in the port area overnight.

[10:30 a.m. Tuesday ET, 4:30 p.m. Tuesday in Libya] NATO on Tuesday said it will begin to enforce an arms embargo against Libya.

NATO ships and aircraft "will conduct operations to monitor, report and, if needed, interdict vessels suspected of carrying illegal arms or mercenaries," according to a NATO statement.

The alliance will also help enforce the no-fly zone over Libya, the statement from NATO's secretary-general said.

[9:56 a.m. Tuesday ET, 3:56 p.m. Tuesday in Libya] The United Nations World Food Program stepped up food supplies for hungry people crossing Libya's borders, the agency said Tuesday. It has been airlifting and pre-positioning portable warehouses and office equipment as  part of regional contingency plans. The U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees said humanitarian assistance under current circumstances is challenging. There are reported shortages of medical supplies and basic commodities in the eastern part of the country and prices have spiked dramatically. The refugee agency said the bloodshed has displaced thousands of Libyans from their homes.

[9:35 a.m. Tuesday ET, 3:35 p.m. Tuesday in Libya] The Spanish parliament on Tuesday approved Spanish military participation in the international coalition operating in Libya. The vote was 336 in favor to 3 opposed, with one abstention, the speaker of the parliament announced after the vote, which was telecast live in Spain.

The parliamentary approval was required under Spanish law, but Spain has already sent to a base in southern Italy four F-18 fighters and a Boeing 707 refueling plane, and two of the fighters and the refueling plane were in action on Monday, before the vote, the Spanish defense minister
said.

[9:22 a.m. Tuesday ET,3:22 p.m. Tuesday in Libya] Two journalists with Agence France-Presse were arrested Saturday in Libya, the news agency said. Dave Clark, a British journalist, and Roberto Schmidt, a German photographer, were arrested in the Ajdabiya region, said AFP editor in chief for France, Jean Luc Bardet.

Their driver said they were arrested by the Libyan military, Bardet said. AFP has not had contact with the two since Friday, Bardet said.

[8:43 a.m. Tuesday ET, 2:43 p.m. Tuesday in Libya] The United Arab Emirates had been prepared to send two aircraft squadrons to participate in the international effort to enforce a no-fly zone over Libya, said Maj. Gen. (Staff) Pilot Khaled Abdullah Al-Buainnain - the former commander of the Emirates' air force and air defense.  However, he said, those plans have changed due to criticism by the United States and the European Union of the Gulf Cooperation Council's deployment of troops to help the monarchy stabilize Bahrain. The UAE has chosen not to take a military role in Libya until Washington and the European Union clarify their position on the use of troops in Bahrain, but it will contribute to the humanitarian effort in Libya, Al-Buainnain said.

[7:42 a.m. Tuesday ET, 1:42 p.m. Tuesday in Libya] Both crew members from a U.S. fighter jet that crashed in Libya "are safe," the U.S. military said in a statement Tuesday. A U.S. military plane picked up the pilot, a senior defense official said. Libyan rebels recovered the second crew member and "took good care of him" until coalition forces "could come get him," the official said. Both crew members are out of Libya, the official said.

[7:29 a.m. Tuesday ET, 1:29 p.m. Tuesday in Libya] Both crew members from a U.S. F-15 fighter jet that crashed in Libya "are safe," the U.S. military said in a statement Tuesday.

[6:50 a.m. Tuesday ET, 12:50 p.m. Tuesday in Libya] A U.S. Air Force F-15 jet has crashed in Libya, Kenneth Fidler, a spokesman for U.S. Africa Command, said Tuesday. Two pilots ejected from the plane. One has been recovered, and the second is still being sought. The crash was "not due to enemy or hostile actions," Fidler said. The plane was flying from Europe, he said.

[6:32 a.m. Tuesday ET, 12:32 p.m. Tuesday in Libya] One crewman has been recovered and another is in the process of being recovered after a U.S. Air Force F-15 crashes in rebel-controlled area of Libya, the U.S. military says, according to Reuters.

[6:16 a.m. Tuesday ET, 12:16 p.m. Tuesday in Libya] A U.S. Air Force F-15 Eagle fighter has crashed, apparently because of mechanical failure, in a rebel-controlled area of Libya, according to Arab media reports. The pilot has been rescued, according to the reports.

[5:48 a.m. Tuesday ET, 11:13 a.m. Tuesday in Libya] The United Arab Emirates said at least two aircraft squadrons are ready to be deployed within 48 hours to support the international mission in Libya, a military leader said.

[3: 13 a.m. Tuesday ET, 9:13 a.m. Tuesday in Libya] An international mission to weaken the force of Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi has stopped the ruler's momentum, a U.S. official said. But criticism and questions about the operation persist, with no clear answer on who will take over command of the military operation and what the end game will be.

[1: 57 a.m. Tuesday ET, 7:57 a.m. Tuesday in Libya] A CNN correspondent on Monday angrily rejected a report by the Fox network that he and other journalists were used as human shields by Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi to prevent a missile attack on his compound.

The Fox story, labeled "exclusive" and posted on the Fox website Monday, said the presence of news crews from CNN, Reuters and other organizations forced a British aircraft to call off firing seven Storm Shadow missiles at the area that already had been hit.

"Officials from Libya's Ministry of Information brought those journalists to the area to show them damage from the initial attack and to effectively use them as human shields," said the Fox report.

According to the Fox story, the curtailed strike "led to a great deal of consternation by coalition commanders."

Nic Robertson, a veteran CNN correspondent who was part of the CNN crew cited in the Fox story, called the rival network's report "outrageous and hypocritical."

[12: 17 a.m. Tuesday ET, 6:17 a.m. Tuesday in Libya]
Satellite images of a Libyan city, provided to CNN by an intelligence source, appear to show evidence that pro-Gadhafi forces razed a mosque that recently served as a rebel command center.

The two images of an area of Zawiya, west of Tripoli, were taken Feb. 20 and March 20, according to the source, who provided them on condition of anonymity.

[11 p.m. Monday ET, 5 a.m. Tuesday in Libya] The United States fired 20 Tomahawk cruise missiles into Libya in the past 12 hours, a military spokeswoman said early Tuesday morning from the Mediterranean Sea. A total of 159 Tomahawks have been fired by the United States and the United Kingdom since an international coalition started Operation Odyssey Dawn on Saturday.

Cmdr. Monica Rousselow, a spokeswoman for the task force, also said one of the three U.S. submarines that participated at the beginning of the operation has since departed the area. She declined to say which submarine.

soundoff (258 Responses)
  1. robroy

    hmmmmm a rebel command center?for Christ sakes it now must be quite confusing for the Libyan government forces.the rebels{armed}have the safe havens of hiding behind the civilian population when the bullets are put to them!!! their also apparently protected by the U.N. when they go out to fight because the U.N. meatheads have classified them as civilians{this seems to be going onesided ,isn't that why the cavalry came into rescue the day!!!!!!} the government forces should strap their kids car seat in their tanks,that way the rules could level out a bit!!!!.

    March 22, 2011 at 6:14 am | Report abuse |
  2. mara

    Why do we still need wars?.....Where on earth is the power of negotiation, selling and blablabla universities teach us all?? If they are so underdeveloped... why not selling them color crystals? Come on! It should be pretty easy for a smart American Graduate in Sociology to negotiate a way with these people? Unless... nobody wanted to negotiate anything and... attack... control... seize riches... jejejeje ... Drop your books! Take your guns! The only American way is violence!

    March 22, 2011 at 6:18 am | Report abuse |
    • Evelyne

      Attention mara, are you the smart " Tec. of America ", I think not.........thats the idea, mara, jump all over the Americans, easy for you to sit back & Criticize, nothing better to do, if that is the way you feel, keep your opinion to yourself, I am sick of Ppl. like you who have nothing good to say, but got to get their Two cents worth in, ( Feel better Now ) .......

      March 22, 2011 at 9:26 am | Report abuse |
    • mara

      Sorry, not just America, not just the USA but the countries which act and those which do nothing... the people who do and the people who do not do anything.... I don´t blame the Americans. If they do something or don´t do something for years it is not their fault only, but also of all the others who do not do anything or better of those who tell the Americans what to do ( The real people in power – the economical power). You are as much of a victim as all the others...

      March 22, 2011 at 11:49 am | Report abuse |
  3. Bumie

    I belive America should tone down its role in this Libya thing and Mr Ghadaffi shld plss leave. Y on earth is that difficult?

    March 22, 2011 at 6:36 am | Report abuse |
    • Evelyne

      Here we go again, another Basher, wow o wow, blame it all on America, have you seen in the US what is going on in Libia, have you seen any President go door to door & slaughter its Ppl......
      Do you not believe this is happening in Libia...
      Get your facts straight before, OMG, / OMG.........
      Do you think that Pres. Obama is enjoying any part of this , ( call it what you may ), it is a Civil War, sad sad sad, in this day & age, I dont expect to see Peace in this World...........
      President Obama had a lot on his plate as he took on the presidentship, probably more than he expected.....
      Thats the way to go tho`, ( dont do anything, just blame Obama for everything, I would not have his job, for all the Tea in China.......tks. all

      March 22, 2011 at 9:48 am | Report abuse |
  4. Tom J W

    Mmmm. It don't matter. You still a dumb jovial waterhead. You understand pea brain.

    March 22, 2011 at 6:38 am | Report abuse |
  5. Jesse Karanga*

    With all due respect let us not trash efforts by westerners to bring peace to Libya, albeit violently.
    I believe that the US wants the radical Gaddafi out for good reasons: he is a lunatic with guns, rockets and an army and will destroy Libya so that HE alone remains leader.
    We all want oil [even my country Kenya] but peace makes TRADE possible. Don't tell me that the US/UK/France will just take your oil. They'll give Libya 'ÂŁs' and other goodies for it. So Oil is not the issue.

    March 22, 2011 at 6:44 am | Report abuse |
    • Evelyne

      Jesse Karanga,
      Good for you, could`nt have said it better myself............
      Truer Words were never said.......Tk. for your posting for others to read...........

      March 22, 2011 at 9:55 am | Report abuse |
    • Commojoe

      I have to agree. This isn't about oil alone any more tha Iraq or Afghanistan were about only oil, as if our aim was to take their oil, gas would be well under $1/gallon right now in the US, and we'd have all the oil we'd ever need.

      March 22, 2011 at 4:29 pm | Report abuse |
  6. elzoi

    This part of what we call communication or psychilogical aspects of war. It is sometimes confusing. Information just comes from here and there.

    March 22, 2011 at 7:22 am | Report abuse |
    • Evelyne

      To : elzoi,

      Go to CNN, truth will you will find, they get their facts before reporting on each & every story...........

      Thank God, we have CNN.............need I say more, no, I think not............Congrats to all these brave Reporters & Journalist, to get to the Truth, & Report the same..............

      March 22, 2011 at 10:04 am | Report abuse |
  7. balike

    What's actually d difference n behavior of d leaders of Libya and d ousted president of Ivory Coast ? What is d UN waiting for to intervain in Ivory Coast? They're both African nations with almost d same humanitarian problems..

    March 22, 2011 at 7:24 am | Report abuse |
  8. Len

    I think the outside military intervention in Libya is a tragic mistake. Perhaps it has more to do with Sarkozy and Obama's campaigns to get reelected. I doubt very much that there is any real interest in 'protecting civilians' in Libya – this is just a smokescreen. The Europeans should have listened to the Germans. Thousands of people now have to die to gain a few incompetent and ' trigger-happy' Western politicians a few percentage points in the next opinion polls. The poor Libyan people are caught between the despotic Gaddafi on one side and Western neo-colonialism on the other.

    March 22, 2011 at 7:30 am | Report abuse |
    • Eddy

      The situation is exactly what you are saying,

      March 22, 2011 at 8:26 am | Report abuse |
    • Brad

      Exactly.......If 2012 elections weren't looming and Libya wasn't an oil rich country, we wouldn't give a rat's a_ _ what Gaddafi was doing. We have allowed his reign of death and destruction for the last 40 years...

      March 22, 2011 at 12:49 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Len

    Oh, and I must also add.............why does the West not intervene in Bahrain and Yemen? Why the double standards? Could it be that the West hates Gaddafi and wants him gone but still supports other despots in the region because they are on the West's side (Yemen, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia – in fact most Middle East nations.) Maybe we will see some intervention in Syria soon as well (another country the West doesn't dominate).

    March 22, 2011 at 7:37 am | Report abuse |
    • ImpeachObama

      Obama is entering this war without approval from Congress. Explain to me the difference between Bush going into Iraq (wih congressional approval) and Obama attacking Libya. Just one year ago Obama was hugging Gadhafi in the White house. They all looked the other way when Britain released the murderer of PanAm 103 to get an oil deal done. Now all of a sudden Gadhafi must go!! Double standard, double talk, double dealing. Standard Obama and/or Bush. Both liars and incompetents

      March 22, 2011 at 9:51 am | Report abuse |
    • noone special

      Presidents are bound by the treaty that formed UN; we signed a pact to support the UN, and Obama is complying. A president may initiate combat for up to 30 days without obtaining a formal declaration of war from Congress. European Union of the Gulf Cooperation Council has troops in Bahrain; therefore, we don't, as it's not necessary. How can what is going on in Libya be a distraction when about seven of its neighbor countries are also in the midst of political turmoil and protests that put them under threat of civil war? Not everything is a conspiracy. The media, the people, and the world called for action; we answered... now we're saying it's over oil, when Libya produces less than 2% of the world's oil supply? Really?

      March 22, 2011 at 12:31 pm | Report abuse |
  10. citizen

    It is very promising to see the markets rising so dramatically in the midst of all this turmoil. Apparently helicopter Ben's policy of dropping cash in affluent neighbourhoods has been effective.
    Does this magically fill your tank wih gasoline? Does it put food on your table, pay your utility bills,property tax, sales tax, car insurance, health care and prescription deductibles, clothes, gadgets and entertainment?
    Do not fear. Your fellow man has hour best interest at heart.
    Warren Buffet and wall street will save us all.

    March 22, 2011 at 7:38 am | Report abuse |
  11. Aaron Prejean

    Hope our men are recovered safely ...

    March 22, 2011 at 7:47 am | Report abuse |
    • dee

      Amen! Not a hospitable country!!!!!

      March 22, 2011 at 7:59 am | Report abuse |
  12. citizen

    Fortunate the pilots are safe. Thankfull indeed. However, the manufacturing to replace that one jet will provide income for 20 families to live for a year.

    March 22, 2011 at 7:47 am | Report abuse |
  13. dee

    Did you graduate from Middle school,or elementry?

    March 22, 2011 at 7:49 am | Report abuse |
    • Steve

      Good lord!!! Look at what you typed real close and ask that question of yourself

      March 22, 2011 at 6:26 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Eddy

    Its very sad the west always kill and distroy others for their own interest,Who cared for the innocent civilians in Somalia,Sudan,Ivery coast,Yeman,Bahrain, and others? Because they do not have much interest they dont care, the 5th fleet of US navy is in yeman region and off-course it a concern.The UN has being turn into a gear box device to facilitate the interest of the west and surppresion others.

    March 22, 2011 at 7:51 am | Report abuse |
    • don

      I don,t think our armed forces can be spread out enough to protect "The uncivilized World" against Mass Murders? Ya Think?

      March 22, 2011 at 8:04 am | Report abuse |
  15. citizen

    Some major news publication based in new york would have you believe the following. The rebels in Bahrain deserve to die alone because they have not been repressed for as long as the Rebels in Libya.

    March 22, 2011 at 7:57 am | Report abuse |
    • Eddy

      Rebels are group of armed men and women who are not legaly recognize by the state,Those in Bahrain are not yet rebels.And they are being killed,talked about Zinbabwa People are being kill any how.Where is the coalition forces,simply because they dont have any benificial interest.Look at Iraq,Afghan, they are killing than gadhafi.
      The world must be vigilant........................

      March 22, 2011 at 8:10 am | Report abuse |
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