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. joan

    Congressional Critics: These stupid men who are complaining that Obama didn't consult them about the air support. If Obama had done so, these useless fools in the Congress would still be fighting one another and not wanting Obama to get any credit also, it would still be there in debate. Lets face it, it's time that our congress, small c, should work for this country and shut up and get the job done that they were sent to do. Not just do what will give them press, or get next elections votes. Our congress is worthless and disgusting. Maybe we, the citizens of America should ask another country to come in and show congress how to work for their country.

    March 22, 2011 at 2:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • mustafa

      am wondering wat`s wrong wiz u americans? why can`t u mind your business only, jst stealing people`s oil.
      dare come to the pure africans we will chope ur heads off and eat ur balls

      March 22, 2011 at 5:17 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Tino

    GO...Lybia!!!!

    BE STRONG . . . .dont let foreing countries defeat you!!!!

    March 22, 2011 at 2:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • BobcatUSN

      Yeah Col. Wack-Job of Lybia......be strong and use the Billions you stole from your own people and murder them because they want freedom! You go Morimar! Show those American Capitalist Pigs...er I mean the Arab League, UN, SATO, and your people how corrupt you are, and how a Real African Man can be a ruthless Dictator to use thier money to live like the false King you are. Show em how a real Muslim Man should act, and not that Kenyan-American who claims to be a false African Prophet of Islam.

      March 23, 2011 at 2:53 am | Report abuse |
  3. Geno

    We've been having trouble with these people for over two hundred years. They are the reason the Department of the Navy was re-commisioned in the late 1700's. We should have nuked them a long time ago.

    March 22, 2011 at 2:46 pm | Report abuse |
  4. roosevelt

    What a crock this article is....how is it that Gadhafi is attacking civilians and not the rebels

    March 22, 2011 at 2:57 pm | Report abuse |
  5. sizzles

    I never once heard Obama declare America is at war with Lybia, so why is the Fox News network declaring that we are? Why are we even debating something that isn't even happening? We are on a humanitarian mission to stop a massacre of innocent people who wanted to demonstrate peacefully, but were forced down by a mad man who loves to use his army to kill his own people so he can remain in power for another 40 years, because you know he's going to lives until he's 120 or so. Come on, not all of us buying into that crap. Those far right and far left, will continue to debate this for years to come, those of us who know better, will be done with this when the mission is over, let the lybians decide who their future leader is. We don't need to murder another dictator. His own people should do this.

    March 22, 2011 at 3:18 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Duke13

    joan said;

    "Maybe we, the citizens of America should ask another country to come in and show congress how to work for their country."

    Congress – work. Isn't that an oxymoron.

    March 22, 2011 at 3:19 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Brian

    This is the chance for the US to not be the bad guy. Obama is right in not escalating this to a "US Led" operation. I know it's hard for the United States to lay low for a change while still helping the humanitarian aspect of this situation. But it is much better for its position in the world and the mid east!! Have a poker face for a change and don't jump up and down like it's the first time you had a good hand to play!

    March 22, 2011 at 3:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Brian

      And... even now the media and citizens of America think they are at war? They are part of a UN coalition to stop the murder of the people in Libya who cannot defend themselves. The French, or the British could easily defeat Libya without the US help at all. There are many countries involved other than the 3 mentioned here. Why can't the US just lay low and keep its role as it is!! Not "at war".

      March 22, 2011 at 3:33 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Tewrobert

    If the American people tried that Obongo would do all he could to wipe us out.........

    March 22, 2011 at 3:22 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Brian

    Did anyone ever consider that Obama's remark on US policy "Ghadafe has to go" doesn't necessarily mean by force or military action? Mubarek is gone now too. It didn't take an intervention by the USA. If Ghadafe has no military muscle under the watch of the UN, he will be gone eventually.

    March 22, 2011 at 3:41 pm | Report abuse |
  10. SAM

    What do you expect him to DO run ?

    March 22, 2011 at 3:45 pm | Report abuse |
  11. DHughes

    Im all for humanitarianism and the protection of innocent people. My problem with us involving ourselves in the Libyan civil war is history seems to be set to repeat itself. George Bush also said, "Saddam Huessein must go!" Now we have President Obama saying, "Ghadafi must go!" But once the removal of leadership has been removed, terrorism seemed to run rampant in that area. So much, that we still have a military presence in Iraq, afghanistan, and unofficially, pakistan. What if we succeed in removing Ghadafi? Is the US prepared for the fallout? What if the same innocent people are still being targeted by terrorist groups? Are we prepared as a nation to handle our resources still being deployed to the middle east if worst comes to worst? Can our economy really support another Iraq, or afghanistan? hmmmm?

    March 22, 2011 at 3:55 pm | Report abuse |
  12. AZLib

    Ok..lets take this nut case out otherwise every other nut case will machine gun their own people in this part of the world. The Saudi's indicate they will cut off fingers of anybody who demostrate in their country... can we finally get rid of those nuts? Personally I say deduct these costs from the $6Billion a year Israel milks us for now and the other $6B that Egypt, Jordon etc milk us for... One this is nice is that maybe the first time that it is not 90% US and 10% 30 other countries.

    March 22, 2011 at 3:55 pm | Report abuse |
  13. david

    I think we should run obama out of the country! Were was he when we started this fight in south America and they have links to terror groups such as hezbola and no telling what others!We need to protect are borders its just a matter of time before they get a dirty bomb in here if not all ready! Hope you all will just think about it dont trust obama theres more than meets the eye here!!!!!!!

    March 22, 2011 at 3:55 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Omar Mohamed

    Many thanks for the brave people who came in and helped us.I am a Libyan citizen and I would love to get my country free of Gadhafi and his family. Please pass on our regards to the American, English, and French people. We love you guys and thanks once agaiin for sending your people to free us.When Libya becomes free we would like to go beyond that and invite all of you to Libya.Also, we would love to make more business and sell our oil to you only.The Libyans are saying in Libya that we will have any more business neither sell our oil to China or Russia.It is only US, England, and France from now on.Thanks from the bottem of my heart once again.

    March 22, 2011 at 4:07 pm | Report abuse |
  15. bond2011

    Fight, fight, fight! why is America so obssesed with wars? What have you achieved from the war in Vietnam, World War II, war in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and by conducting other covert operations elsewhere in the middle-east. Why is America behind all the evils? America has lost it's credibility to be the super-power. Americans are involved in the worse war-crimes by killing innocent civilians in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan on a daily basis and by carrying out secret targeted killings elsewhere in the middle east and Africa to turn people against their own government. There won't be any peace in the world unless U.S. government is brought to justice for all the crimes it has committed. Unfortunately, U.N and ICC is playing in the hands of the U.S. and we don't expect them to deliver. Wake-up people! this is today's reality....

    March 22, 2011 at 4:10 pm | Report abuse |
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