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

[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. Brian

    Libya's conflict is like a schoolyard fight between 4th graders. With CNN, Fox, and the other media moguls all around chanting "fight, fight!!!" (while we all watch). The big bully in the fight is beating on the little guy with a big stick. The little guy has no stick at all. In comes the big 6th Graders and takes the big stick away from the bully, pushes him down and hands a medium sized stick to the little guy. Okay.. back to chanting "fight, fight, fight!!!". Sheeesh.
    We need adults (UN) to come and break it up. Stop BOTH sides from using violence.

    March 22, 2011 at 1:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • citizen

      Very good. However in this case the 6th grader told the little guy he would have backing.

      March 22, 2011 at 1:32 pm | Report abuse |
  2. naziha

    Cry from Libya
    To all US citizen you should be proude of your selves " with great power comes great responsibilities" since you're most powerful country you must help other countries gain freedom. Im Libyan Canadain women i would like to see my country freed by helb from colleations. The murderer Qaddafe still carrying masacres in Mesrata & Zentan right now. Please help do not Listen to Arab Leauge, Russia and China. We Libyan are in need to help

    March 22, 2011 at 1:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mike Pruett

      Yes, I believe this has been too long coming. it should have been done in the '80's. I have been to the Middle East and seen that the People there just wish to have a peaceful Life. The People in these areas wish to live free. As I always say "There is always a bad 1 (one) in every barrel." Do NOT judge the people by there so-called Leaders.

      March 22, 2011 at 4:19 pm | Report abuse |
  3. N'fa Abubakr I. Kamara


    March 22, 2011 at 1:27 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Ibrahim Obita

    I'm totally against Moarma Gardafi's 41yrs rule but notwithstanding the decision taken by the coalation forces(headed by US,Britain and their so called France) is unacceptable in any civilised states,the coalation has done more destruction to Libya and it people than Gadafi. I'm not surprise at France this is just to tell all French Colonised Countries how selfish and wicke they are what did they do in Rawanda,Ivory Caost,Guinea (to name a few) in their crises resolution is it because there is no oil in these Countries or what.SHAME ON YOU FRANCE, SHAME SHAME.
    Your so called Prezo is just like Mr.Bean the Greatest Clown

    March 22, 2011 at 1:30 pm | Report abuse |
  5. naziha

    there isno Civilaions will be affected by these air srickes, only thing affectiong them is the murderer Qaddafe and he must go

    March 22, 2011 at 1:32 pm | Report abuse |
  6. gottahandittohim

    Not sure I believe that headline

    March 22, 2011 at 1:33 pm | Report abuse |
  7. biglips

    Just use the mustard gas on those creatures to get them to conform to authority

    March 22, 2011 at 1:38 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Leon Jaeger

    four children where killed in israel today, the gaza strip was shelled and strafed with missile,s via jet,s.

    March 22, 2011 at 1:41 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Ibrahim Obita

    All those that are supporting the BOMBING of Libya has no good feeling or sympathy for the Libyain People.Let comedian ZARCHOZY and his opportunist friend OBAMA lean off the walls of Libya or else it will fall with them.

    March 22, 2011 at 1:43 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Adam Bash

    HELLO AMERICA....WELCOME TO THE GREAT MUSLIM NATION OF OBAMA! Obama's move to go to war with Libya WITHOUT CONGRESSIONAL APPROVAL...PROVES BEYOND A SHADOW OF A DOUBT What his intentions AID HIS EXTREMIST MUSLIM BROTHERS ATTEMPT TO TAKE OVER THAT COUNTRY!! We ALL know he is a muslim..and NOW he has shown where his loyalties lie...with THE NATION OF ISLAM. If he said that Libyan Leader Khaddafi should step down to LOSS of BELIEF of his people..then Mr. MUSLIM OBAMA...Step down because AMERICA has NO FAITH in your ability to provide for the AMERICAN BEST INTEREST!! IMPEACHMENT ANYONE?!!! If Clinton could be put through the hearing over Lewinsky..then why hasnt this President been put through this for his continuing decisions that prove he is not serving AMERICAN INTERESTS as OUR PRESIDENT..but his and HIS MUSLIM BROTHERS BEST INTERESTS!

    March 22, 2011 at 1:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Basil, Atlanta, GA

      You are the dumbest of all the ppl that wrote here today. In fact you are the dumbest I've seen in a long time. I dont know they still make them like you...

      March 22, 2011 at 5:27 pm | Report abuse |
  11. geo

    Forget about Libya we really need to worry about France. France was allowed to invade a country and we allowed this to go unchecked. There are always deaths in a revolution this was not genocide. If we are looking to prevent genocide, there are other countries to go to war against. Sarko is the real criminal in this case.

    March 22, 2011 at 1:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • cat

      Lets bomb France

      March 22, 2011 at 2:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • JoJoFox

      Nah...Let's bomb Geo...till he gets his facts straight....then we will agree to a cease-fire...maybe...if we want to...sort of...but not really.

      March 22, 2011 at 3:02 pm | Report abuse |
  12. PileOfObongo

    Moe is here with me in Rio. We are doing leadership things. FORE!!!!

    March 22, 2011 at 2:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Donald McDaniel

      Considering that the "pile" you refer to is able, at a moment's notice, to go to Air Force 1, get the nuclear football, and with a few clicks and whistles, send Hell flaming all around you, don't you think you should be a little more respectful?

      Just sayin...


      March 22, 2011 at 2:32 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Adam Bash

    HELLO AMERICA....WELCOME TO THE GREAT MUSLIM NATION OF OBAMA! Obama's move to go to war with Libya WITHOUT CONGRESSIONAL APPROVAL...PROVES BEYOND A SHADOW OF A DOUBT What his intentions AID HIS EXTREMIST MUSLIM BROTHERS ATTEMPT TO TAKE OVER THAT COUNTRY!! We ALL know he is a muslim..and NOW he has shown where his loyalties lie...with THE NATION OF ISLAM. If he said that Libyan Leader Khaddafi should step down to LOSS of BELIEF of his people..then Mr. MUSLIM OBAMA...Step down because AMERICA has NO FAITH in your ability to provide for the AMERICAN BEST INTEREST!! IMPEACHMENT ANYONE?!!! If Clinton could be put through the hearing over Lewinsky..then why hasnt this President been put through this for his continuing decisions that prove he is not serving AMERICAN INTERESTS as OUR PRESIDENT..but his and HIS MUSLIM BROTHERS BEST INTERESTS!

    March 22, 2011 at 2:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • john

      anti-psychotics should be taken IN THE MORNING with a meal.

      March 22, 2011 at 6:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • popa're a total nutcase....please come home your mother is really worried for you

      March 22, 2011 at 6:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kevin

      I thought he did a good job, He got UN/Arabic help pretty dang quick as far as how long things take in Politics nowadays, And saved possibly 10000s of lives in Bengazzi by not waiting for congress to make the decision, He got SOuth America to come along at same time, witch is hugely important at this time, There right next to US, WHile at same time taking a firm stance aginst Isreals stubborness,Stating he wants Gaddaffi Gone, while Leaving wiggle room to Abide by Nato, and agreeing to there Resolution as they create, While it also seems he has with ALlied help effectively gave the Revolutionarys a fighting chance,And the stock Markets been in green weeks now!

      March 25, 2011 at 2:36 am | Report abuse |
  14. Tom

    Two points and an observation on your Libya/Mid East coverage today:
    1) Yemen is NOT in North is on the SOUTH end of the Arabian Peninsula.
    2) The Navy doesn't typically have 32,000 crewman on a surface combatant warship.
    Has anyone pointed out there are still live weapons on USAF F-15E wreckage: the "AIM-120" is a missile.

    March 22, 2011 at 2:25 pm | Report abuse |
  15. The Dave

    Cnn fans and administration,

    If you could please read this post without judgment, with an open mind, I would appreciate it.

    The United States has been acting as a watch-dog for the world for a long time, but it is changing dramatically. Now, as we are looking forward, the face of global politics is adapting to differnet technologies, players, and tactics that never existed before, and we need to utilize, study, and fully understand them all in order to find the solutions to our myriad array of problems.

    We are currently witnessing an escalation of tensions, and in my opinion, the efforts President Obama is making are prudent, and diplomatic. I feel that his motions to negotiate peace before war are rational, and the efforts he has made to save innocent lives have moral justifications.

    There is drastic a and avoidable misunderstanding between the different cultures in the global political system that is the source of the problem. We need to figure out what it is. If we get deep enough with our thoughts about the source of the misunderstaning, that we might be able to find the perfect words, the essence of the misunderstanding. Logically and rationally, if we overcome it with reason–this will be the exact solution to the problem.

    If we all, rather than letting our executive branch ave this tremendous burden just on them, think very deeply about this, I feel that the brilliant people in America will find the perfect solution to the problems that exist between the clashing cultures of the world. In short, I feel that it is time for a Rennaisance.

    President Obama was right. "Now is the time to talk." I feel that it is time to step out of the darkness of the cave we live in and into the light of reality– to see the flowers, the sky, the birds, and then return back in, but not to look at the shadows, to tell others about what you have seen. It is time to teach one another. We need to. And, when we look back at our lives, we will know that when Earth was in a state of winter, that we ushered in spring.

    Push peace!!

    Before you criticize, or judge, or perpetuate any more of the problems that exist, at least attempt to keep an open mind. I feel that collectively, we can all work to put fires out with amazing and beautiful music, art, philosophy, concepts, ideas, etc.. we can avert disaster collectively.

    March 22, 2011 at 2:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Cal Al

      Perfectly said.

      March 22, 2011 at 3:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • Cal Al

      To The Dave- Perfectly said.

      March 22, 2011 at 3:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Nat97

      Thank you. I read through all the comments, and that is by far the most intelligent.

      March 22, 2011 at 4:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • educatedguess

      to dave above,

      jesus christ, marx, ghandi, MLK, among many others, were those who figured out what you are calling for.

      the powers that be have never wanted that solution, however. why would they?

      March 22, 2011 at 5:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • thinkingallowed

      Wonderful dream and we need to shed ourselves of the shackles of our oppressive (bullying, aristocratic, lying) government, just as our founding fathers did. I digress.
      However, we cannot put flowers in our rifles, put them down and watch the world follow suit while painting a picture. An open mind is not a mind of thoughts floating toward fantasy for reality. You sound educated (maybe not too smart, or informed, however you do sound like you bought your piece of paper with all trivia question answers that accompany it) surely you cannot believe what you type is possible?

      March 22, 2011 at 10:52 pm | Report abuse |
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