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. Cesar (C) TX

    @mara: All snake oil salesmen are in it for money and power. Marx was no different. Timothy Leary encouraged his hippy followers to drop out while he held 3 degrees from very good schools. Hypocrisy at it's finest.

    March 22, 2011 at 9:30 pm | Report abuse |
  2. farag

    I `m from Africa , just I want to confirm that which is every one in Africa is dreaming to visit the USA ,contrary what Mustfa wrote every one hate the USA and I think he is in the USA now ...........I would say for every American hae involved to help Libyan people from this dectatore thanks and many many many thanks . cuz you don`t know the bad situation there.

    March 22, 2011 at 9:30 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Libyan

    Actually we're laughing at MoMo's rocket. Looks like mummified chorizo

    March 22, 2011 at 9:48 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Vickie Cole-Campbell

    I don’t know why some Americans don’t understand why we are in Libya! Why, because of Atrocities against mankind; the killing of women, children and the elderly! How could we, America as a whole or any other country, allow such cowardly actions? Gadhafi, really, really, needs to go! We, as Americans, cannot allow this Evil man to continue to reign in terror…

    March 22, 2011 at 10:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • anonymous

      As I am sure you are aware: The libyan opressed women and children can join the ranks with the rest of the world. Our country has come a long way and yes we do enjoy playing the protector role but why when we can't make our own citizens quality of life better would we take into our hands the civil war of another country? As my grandmother used to tell me, "you have to help yourself, before you can help others" .
      We may be long past our own revolution, and while we can encourage other countries to follow suit and eliminate those oppressors which bring down the nation as a whole: our country is slowly decaying from the outside in. Our leaders are just as corrupt as foreign leaders, only manage it differently than others. Look at congress, look at our economy, and then take a look at our children's educational system. If the oppression over lap doesn't include America's current path excluding the middle to lower class of society from a decent education, inorder to support themselves and their families once they're finished with school which will lead a future of unbelievable poverty, than I do not know how to define oppression. Off topic but more on topic than going on about every missile strike, no fly zone b.s in libya. All of it is a distraction, the government wants us to zone in on, so we cannot see the problems here in the u.s.a.

      March 23, 2011 at 12:02 pm | Report abuse |
  5. T O'Connell

    Might as well go ahead a drop a missil on the libyan central bank and if they have any, the Libyan mints. Turn his gold to dust.

    March 22, 2011 at 10:19 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Nicholas

    We looked the other way and played nice so we could negotiate lucrative oil deals with Q. Now those deals are all at risk. If only we had let Q finish off the rebels. He was so close...

    March 22, 2011 at 10:21 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Tripoli

    Thank you Obama and all Americans for helping Libyan civilians from this crazy family ever.

    March 22, 2011 at 10:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • william 68

      Who is running NATO.what country is the General from? Do you Know

      March 31, 2011 at 8:28 pm | Report abuse |
  8. fernando

    The bottom line is that The U.S. is a peace loving, democracy promoting nation who looks out for human rights here and throughout the world. Sure there will be double standards. We can't be everywhere in the world and do everything, but I do support removing leaders from power such as saddam hussein, hosnik mubarak, and moamar kadafi. Chavez, Castro, kim jung ill, are next!!!

    March 22, 2011 at 10:51 pm | Report abuse |
  9. from libya

    God bless Obama and all the people who supported the UN military attack on Kaddafi forces .
    I am writing this comment from Misurata city in Libya where I live now ,
    Although there were no major attacks till now on Kaddafi forces in Misurata, but we hope it will be soon to help minimize the number of people who are killed by Kaddafi every day .
    I am aware that a lot of people may say why we will interfere in Libya , Oil for blood , it is not true , libya oil was with the western countries even with Kaddafi , so this is not the reason , the world is interfering to help the Libyans defeat the most evil creature in this universe , even if the western countries do not interfere , we as Libyans know that the oil is an important issue, but at the end , you should know that we prefer to deal with Europe and the western countries than to deal with china and Russia who are not considering that the most important thing is the human being not the oil .
    Libyans are very simple and peaceful people but unfortunately Kaddafi I with his paranoia and his unforgivable terror crimes forced the civilized world to look to Libyans as terrorists .
    No one in this world should support Kaddafi except the evil people like him.
    I will brief you some of what is happening here just to let you know how this crazy is dealing with any people who say to him we want Libya to be democratic country and i swear to god it is all correct .....
    Misurata is a city of a 500,000 people , Kaddafi tried for three weeks to prevent the people from saying that ( 42 years of dictatorship is enough) and that (they fade up from him and his sons) , by killing the civilians by any means thinking that the people will be afraid and draw back as he is doing always , but when he realized that they will not , he ordered to kill everybody till the city shows hands up , …. Since ten days with the help of his loyal forces – which is different from the Libyan army – he cut the water , the Gsm networks , all the land line phone networks , the internet lines Dsl and Wimax he damaged most of the electrical transforming stations in the city to cut the electrical power .
    for all the last seven days we wake up every morning on the sounds of his tanks attacking every building in the city center , to kill as many people as possible , most of the families in the city center left to the villages to stay away from being killed , his forces closed all the roads going out of Misurata not allowing any one to leave the city , my unlucky neighbor has a 8 years child who should go to Tripoli frequently to have his radiotherapy shots as part of treatment for brain cancer , but when he reached the Kaddafi forces check point they refused to allow him to go and he is watching his kid not knowing what to do ....
    every day between 15 to 30 people dies , just today the hospital announced 17 died 4 of them are kids died after one tank shut the car which their mother was driving trying to escape with them to a safer place after Kaddafi forces started to attack the zone where they lives .
    when the media talks about rebels do you know who are they , all of them are between 18 – 28 years old , 100% civilians , most of them are students, you may say why they carry weapons , tell me , what they can do when they see their family members killed infront of them and their houses are demolished just because Kaddafi wants to stay in power . sure , they will carry whatever they find sticks , guns or anything to defend their families and their city from being vanished , because Kaddafi will never listen to anything else whatever they do .

    Dear brothers from any nation, we appreciate any efforts to protect the civilians in Libya , and we ask you to pray for us so we will defeat the evil as soon as possible .
    ( now I am using a UBS with solar battery to run my laptop and my home type two way satellite internet connection listening to the sound of coalition airplanes in Misurata sky hopping they will attack Kaddafi forces tonight , sorry for my poor English )

    March 22, 2011 at 11:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Truthwillprevail

      Hey The Dave: are you working as agent for USA? Do not lie. There is not only CNN, BBC & Al jazeera. There is also other tv and news channel like Russia today. First of all, I feel sorry for you guys that you guys are destroying your own country by taking arms against your country and pput your country in civil war. there are some people who like gaddafi and some people do not like gaddafi. We know the truth. that does not mean you have to remove him from the power. Dont ask for help from foreign country. If you love your country, try to liberate your country yourself. Are you coward? You rebel slaughted two poor Bangladeshi workers in Bengahji and tortured and looted foreign workers in bengahji with the weapons you looted from ARMY barack. do not deny it. I have proof of the newspaper. It is not published in CNN!!!. You guys do not deserve democracy. If there is democracy, you guya will do the sameting what you did to foreign and own people. You guys need dictator who can control your animal behavior. How can you guys change the flag of your country? you guys are real traitor. Every country and every president would do the same if the people those country do the same like you guys lotting weapons from army barack and change the national flag.

      March 22, 2011 at 11:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • vloplame

      It may be that both of these posts are from Libyan nationals, so it is educational to read them and draw one's own conclusions.

      March 23, 2011 at 1:32 am | Report abuse |
    • Vickie Cole-Campbell

      From Libya:
      You’re English and grammar is better than many American’s, who were born in America.
      My family has all of you (anyone in Libya, who is under this Tyrant’s rule) in our prayers, day and night, as I am sure, there are many, many, other’s, who are praying for all of you too!

      March 23, 2011 at 3:27 am | Report abuse |
  10. Brian

    "The bottom line is that The U.S. is a peace loving, democracy promoting nation who looks out for human rights here and throughout the world. "..................

    How old are you? That's the way I thought when I was in grade school. When I grew up I could see the world is a lot more complicated than that.

    March 22, 2011 at 11:25 pm | Report abuse |
  11. JanafromCanada

    MUSTAFA...Stealing oil in a Murderous way? First off I am Canadian and don't really like the way Americans do some things but how can you sit there and say they are murdering people...when Qaddafi is doing the murdering and it seems all you people do is eat,sleep and breath killing....always fighting over something. If you guys just had a tsunami, everyone would all be there for you and your people to....so why and how is this different? Qaddafi has to die, how one man has that much power is insane, and how so many followers of his are so brainwashed – I could say the Arabs should mind their business too cause they are sure spreading their "word" in Canada and US...and wear their head things and some places can carry their swords....really go back to your country if you don't like the way we live. Simple. Honestly the Coallition should just stop – you all can just kill off each other...cause the children will grow up and be just like the men so whats the difference, they have already seen to much in their life of their f&cked up country.

    March 22, 2011 at 11:27 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Itsa

    I agree – Well said, Dave. Now IS the time for talk and understanding. Diplomacy has never been more vital. The cowboy 'us vs. them' mentality (taken by any nation, btw) only backfires and fails.

    March 22, 2011 at 11:47 pm | Report abuse |
  13. ms.pretty_woman

    AMERICA'S HIDDEN AGENDA: OIL AND GAS OF LIBYA.

    March 22, 2011 at 11:52 pm | Report abuse |
  14. ms.pretty_woman

    AMERICA'S HIDDEN AGENDA: OIL AND GAS OF LIBYA!

    Long Live Gaddafi and his Green Book

    March 22, 2011 at 11:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • Joshua

      yeah I give him another 2 weeks. MAYBE. Until a bomb just so happens to blow him into oblivion. Anyone American who supports the evil dictator should be chargd with treason.

      March 23, 2011 at 12:14 am | Report abuse |
  15. axiom

    Libya only contributes to 2% of the worlds oil supply,true but not so relevant. The UN wants to intervene to keep members of OPEC out of the "war" (Syria, Saudi Arabia). Investors have the jitters and the UN is afraid they will pull out and drive up oil prices.

    March 23, 2011 at 12:28 am | Report abuse |
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