Libya live blog: Gadhafi troops attack Misrata hospital
Libyan rebels deploy near the city of Ajdabiya to try to attack government forces that have encircled the town.
March 23rd, 2011
10:10 PM ET

Libya live blog: Gadhafi troops attack Misrata hospital

The latest developments on the situation in Libya, where coalition forces launched a series of coordinated airstrikes on Saturday after they were convinced Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi was not adhering to a cease-fire mandated by the United Nations. Read our complete story and check out our full coverage on unrest in the Arab world. Also, don't miss a gripping, high-resolution gallery of images from Libya.

[10:10 p.m. Wednesday ET, 4:10 a.m. Thursday in Libya] The coalition air effort to halt the Libyan government's attacks on civilians continued into Thursday for a sixth day, with an airstrike in the Tripoli suburb of Tajura, a government official said.

[9:20 p.m. Wednesday ET, 3:20 a.m. Thursday in Libya] After enduring five days of air strikes by coalition forces, Libyan government troops retain the upper hand. Government forces' move on Benghazi has been reversed, but attacks on Misrata and Ajdabiya continue. One witness said personnel in the main hospital were "paralyzed with fear."

Meanwhile, the Libyan government reported that military and civilian locations in Tripoli neighborhoods were struck. A U.S. official calls that assertion "unlikely" and says coalition forces have been using "all necessary measures" to protect civilians.

[6:02 p.m. Wednesday ET, 12:02 a.m. Thursday in Libya] Members of Moammar Gadhafi's inner circle are contacting the United States and Arab states, but have been unclear about their intentions, senior U.S. officials said.

However, the officials said that none of Gadhafi's inner circle have indicated Gadhafi was ready to leave, nor have any of them suggested they are ready to abandon Gadhafi, CNN's Elise Labott reported.

They are indeed reaching out, but it's not clear to what end," one senior official said. "It's not clear what's the purpose of all these calls."

[5:48 p.m. Wednesday ET, 11:48 p.m. in Libya] House Speaker John Boehner has written a letter to President Barack Obama complaining of "limited, sometimes contradictory" information so far on the U.S.-led military mission in Libya and asked for the president to provide "a clear and robust assessment."

Boehner, R-Ohio, wrote that he and other House members were troubled that the president committed U.S. military resources to war "without clearly defining for the American people, the Congress and our troops what the mission in Libya is and what America's role is in achieving that mission," CNN's Deirdre Walsh reports.

[5:30 p.m. Wednesday ET, 11:30 p.m. in Libya] Tanks belonging to Gadhafi's forces shelled the main hospital of rebel-held Misrata this afternoon, a witness told CNN.

The push began at 8 p.m. (2 p.m. ET), when "heavy tanks for Gadhafi troops start attacking the hospital - the bombs falling here 20 meters (66 feet) around us," said one person inside the hospital. He said two deaths had occurred "around the hospital."

At one point, shelling occurred without respite for 40 minutes, he said. "Now, fortunately, no more shelling, but the situation is so serious that all the teams here - the doctors, the patients - are paralyzed, scared."

He called for international intervention to protect the civilians inside the institution. "Nobody can work here," he said. All the doctors here are completely paralyzed." Ambulances were not able to leave the hospital, which had lost its electricity and was running on generator power, he said.

[5:05 p.m. Wednesday ET, 11:05 p.m. in Libya] An update on which Arab nations are playing some role in the coalition operation: Jordanian government spokesman Taher Edwan says that Jordan's role will be limited to a humanitarian one. "Jordan did not and will not have any military participation in Libya, neither in planes or on the ground at all in Libya," he said.

British Prime Minister David Cameron said Wednesday that Kuwait and Jordan have agreed to provide logistical support to the Libyan effort.

Qatar has already contributed planes to mission.

The United Arab Emirates said Tuesday it will participate, but only in providing humanitarian assistance. Toward that end, the country has sent a ship and two planes with basic relief supplies, the country's news agency said.

[4:53 p.m. Wednesday ET, 10:53 p.m. in Libya] Members of the Obama administration, while briefing a bipartisan group of congressional aides Tuesday on the military action in Libya, stressed that the U.S. is "not at war" with Libya, according to an official who was there.

The official said there was "deep skepticism from both sides of the aisle, both sides of the capitol" during the session. The official said that concerns about the mission were expressed and that while some spoke of support for "what the president is doing," they were seeking guidance on how to answer their constituents when they ask "what's next," according to CNN's Dan Lothian.

According to the official, who spoke to CNN but did not want to be quoted on the record, the panel could not provide a clear answer and instead said they're focused on implementing the U.N. Security Council resolution.

Critics on Capitol Hill are angry over what they consider inadequate administration consultation with Congress before the start of the military mission over the weekend. They also

[4:30 p.m. Wednesday ET, 10:30 p.m. in Libya] CNN's Arwa Damon talks to the Libyan rebels who came to the aid of one of the two American servicemembers who ejected from a U.S. Air Force F-15 that crashed near Benghazi in eastern Libya after a malfunction.

Rebels recovered the crew member, a weapons officer, and treated him with "respect and dignity" until coalition forces reached him, U.S. Navy Adm. Samuel Locklear III said Tuesday. U.S. rescue teams picked up the other crew member, the pilot, who had landed in a different spot.

[3:06 p.m. Wednesday ET, 9:06 p.m. in Libya] More on U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's latest comments to reporters: She said it is "clear that Gadhafi has lost confidence of Libyan people."

That's the main reason "why he should leave power," she said Wednesday afternoon. He can't govern or "meet the legitimate aspirations of his own people."

Clinton indicated that international military action may be putting pressure on Gadhafi to step aside, but stressed that the goal of the military campaign remains purely humanitarian - to protect civilians and enforce the no-fly zone.

It is up to Gadhafi and his advisers "to determine what their next steps are," Clinton said. But we would "encourage them to make the right decision" and "prepare for a transition that does not include Col. Gadhafi."

[2:52 p.m. Wednesday ET, 8:52 p.m. in Libya] U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said that the United States and its global partners are making progress in Libya. Clinton cited the retreat of Gadhafi's troops from the eastern Libyan city and rebel stronghold of Benghazi, along with what she characterized as the successful establishment of conditions necessary for a no-fly zone.

"Many, many Libyans are safer today because the international community took action," Clinton said.

The U.S. government will continue to support the military mission as command and control shifts to NATO, she said.

[2:04 p.m. Wednesday ET, 8:04 p.m. in Libya] A new Gallup poll said 47% of Americans approve of military action against Libya while 37% disapprove. A CNN/Opinion Research poll released Monday, however, suggested a larger majority of Americans - seven in 10 - favored establishing a no-fly zone in Libya enforced by the United States and other nations.

[1:59 p.m. Wednesday ET, 7:59 p.m. in Libya] Britain will host an international meeting Tuesday to assess progress and needs in the Libya campaign, British Foreign Secretary William Hague said.

[1:53 p.m. Wednesday ET, 7:53 p.m. in Libya] Parts of the eastern Libyan city of Ajdabiya fell to opposition forces even though Gadhafi's men, who have been pounding the area with artillery and heavy tank bombardments, retained control of the northern and western gates, opposition fighters and witnesses told CNN.

A hospital staffer and opposition fighters said that nine people were killed Wednesday in fighting near the northern gate. Coalition airstrikes targeted military sites in Ajdabiya Tuesday night into Wednesday, a U.S. military official said.

[12:41 p.m. Wednesday ET, 6:41 p.m. in Libya] In the last 24 hours, the international coalition has flown 175 sorties over Libya - 113 of them by U.S. planes, U.S. Rear Adm. Gerard Hueber said. He said the coalition has no indication that Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi was complying with a United Nations mandate to stop attacks against civilians. Coalition forces are now focusing on applying pressure on Gadhafi's ground forces that are attacking civilians, Hueber said. That includes targeting Libya's mechanized forces and artillery and interdicting supply lines for "beans and bullets," he said.

The no-fly zone now spans Libya from east to west along its coastline, Hueber added.

[10:41 a.m. Wednesday ET, 4:41 p.m. in Libya] France's foreign minister said NATO will not take political leadership of the international coalition's mission in Libya, but will play a role in planning and operations to enforce the United Nations-backed no-fly zone. The minister, Alain Juppe, said a commission composed of foreign ministers from the participating coalition states will make the political decisions.

[10:37 a.m. Wednesday ET, 4:37 p.m. in Libya] Despite the freezing of its assets under a U.N. resolution, Libya could use its stockpile of gold to keep its government going, the BBC and CNN have reported. Libya's central bank is said to hold about $6 billion worth of gold.

[10:02 a.m. Wednesday ET, 4:02 p.m. in Libya] Some signs of normalcy sprouted in the besieged western Libyan town of Misrata after a night of coalition airstrikes that witnesses said targeted encampments of forces loyal to Moammar Gadhafi. "It is relatively quiet today - this is the first time we feel that way in weeks," said Mohammed, an opposition spokesman in the city who would only give his first name. "We want to express our gratitude to the international community since there were airstrikes this morning."

[9:18 a.m. Wednesday ET, 3:18 p.m. in Libya] U.S. aircraft dropped a precision-guided munition on the F-15E that crashed Tuesday to fully destroy it, a U.S. military official said.

[7:31 a.m. Wednesday ET, 1:31 p.m. in Libya] Three journalists seized in Libya over the weekend have been released, Agence France-Presse said. AFP reporters Dave Clark and Roberto Schmidt and Getty Images photographer Joe Raedle were arrested near the eastern town of Ajdabiya on Saturday. The three were released in Tripoli.

[12:37 a.m. Wednesday ET, 6:37 a.m. Wednesday in Libya] Several loud explosions and heavy anti-aircraft gunfire rang out in the western part of the Libyan capital at dawn Wednesday.

The source of the blasts and gunfire in Tripoli were unclear, but there is a large military base in the area.

Hours earlier, Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi had 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."

- 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.

soundoff (423 Responses)
  1. gnf

    just drop a a couple of daisy cutters on the compound and be done with it (oh yeah, but make sure Nic is out of the way first)

    March 23, 2011 at 2:45 am | Report abuse |
  2. penel9

    Hoping for better for all Libyans. They are in my thoughts and prayers.

    March 23, 2011 at 2:49 am | Report abuse |
  3. John Roberson

    You Americans don't even know where Libya is on a map.. give it a rest.. your country is in severe decline and you don't even notice.. At least in Libya health care and education are free..

    March 23, 2011 at 2:52 am | Report abuse |
    • Robert Shirley III

      Uhhh.....GROW UP & READ MORE THAN JUST CRAPPY MAGS John!!! Join all of us in that thingy called............."REALITY"!!! But,once again.JUST MY OPINION!!! Which we are allowed to have ,and say here in AMERICA!!! BY,OUR RIGHTS!!!

      March 23, 2011 at 2:57 am | Report abuse |
    • gnf

      sure we do. it is at the bad end of 200 or so tomahawk missiles.

      March 23, 2011 at 3:04 am | Report abuse |
    • Dolce Vita

      thats right john roberson!

      Life in Libya under Gaddafi:
      1 interest-free loans during the study;
      2 receives the average salary for this profession if you do not find a job after graduation;
      3 the state has paid for to work in the profession; 4 after the entry into marriage state is given an apartment or house; ..
      . 5 buying cars at factory prices;
      6 do not owe anyone a cent;
      7 free health and education;
      8th 25% of highly educated,
      9 40 loaves of bread costs $ 0.15
      10. Price of petrol 1 $ = 1.5 gallons;
      11th Do not pay for electricity and water ..
      12th An average of 2-3 cars per family

      OMG, What powers does.! They kill innocent people for oil. Thieves! Destroying a sovereign country. Do you know that you can from Libya to study anywhere in the world, to be treated where you want all at public expense. When you turn 18 you get the apartment key!

      Social justice in Libya are in the high level !!

      Libya employs 1.5 million foreigners and there are 8 million Libyans who do not have to work. Foreigners have the same benefits!
      Ask yourself if would prefer to live in such a dictatorship or in this democracy. People love it, prices and protect their bodies and lives. But as in all the wheat and chaff there is or there are those who will sell their mother for the sake of personal gain, for the fist U.S. dollars.

      Think about this

      March 23, 2011 at 6:23 am | Report abuse |
    • deep

      If you live in a different country John,Please stay their,or go back. Thanks

      March 23, 2011 at 10:47 am | Report abuse |
    • 4everpeace

      then answer me this,
      why do people flee lybia at their very first chance trying for a better life in europe and here in europe we have to provide work and everything to ensure their humanitarian rights are observed?

      if your life was so perfect why leave, if you're living like a king?

      should fleeing people from the african continent to european shores be taken back? because frankly they only bring more problems.

      March 23, 2011 at 11:16 am | Report abuse |
    • freeman

      Yes, things are going so great in Libya that there is a civil war, and a large percentage of the population is trying to overthrow their dictator of 40+ years. The average Libyan wage of 270 dinars a month doesn't get you much other than food and rent. Not to mention that the Unemployment was at 30% in 2000, and has grown worse since.

      Oh, and especially don't forget, that if a citizen publicly disagrees with the Libyan government, he gets massacred by military gunships. That's not something that we have to worry about in America, but is the main reason we are currently working with the UN to take out loyalist forces in Libya.

      March 23, 2011 at 2:49 pm | Report abuse |
  4. tmohr48

    I don't support Libya, plain and simple! But, how can Libya be told not to fight when they are being attacked themselves.

    March 23, 2011 at 2:58 am | Report abuse |
  5. AMERICA 1st

    the USA has no business in libya. let the ragheads deal with their own petty squabbles. the USA has more important concerns here at home!

    March 23, 2011 at 3:17 am | Report abuse |
    • American

      OMG....There is shame in plains for what goes on in the hills....

      March 23, 2011 at 1:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • freeman

      The no fly zone is a humanitarian mission, which is sponsored by the UN, not the United States. We are just providing our share.

      March 23, 2011 at 2:51 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Quorra

    Ahem, poor deluded brainwashed Americans... Your hate for Quaddafi is so sincere! How come you always hate leaders of oil-rich countries? Why USA don't bomb other countries where peaceful demonstation get slaughtered? Oh wait they don't have oil so their dictators are not evil. Tsk, tsk, tsk.

    March 23, 2011 at 3:23 am | Report abuse |
    • freeman

      First off, why do you address this comment to Americans? In case you didn't notice, this is a UNITED NATIONS sponsored action. The first person on your list should be Ban Ki Moon, and all the Security Council members (of which the US is only one). And then, should be all the countries working to enforce the UN resolution: Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Greece, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Qatar, Romania, Spain, Turkey, & the United Kingdom.

      Second, Perhaps you don't remember the UN interventions in Somolia, Croatia, & Bosnia, of which America played a major role? All to help people being slaughtered by their governments. And none of them oil producing nations.
      Besides which, America gets absolutely NONE of its oil from Libya.

      So Basically, your entire comment is both erroneous and worthless.

      Citizen of a UN member state.

      March 23, 2011 at 2:32 pm | Report abuse |
  7. stylo might

    All you guys calling for Mons. Ga Ga Daffy's death via coalition attack are no better than how his dishonorable dictatorchitness thinks. Mons. Ga Ga deserves his day in court, like Milosovic. Simple, right and civilized.

    March 23, 2011 at 3:25 am | Report abuse |
    • deep

      Hanging would be in order? A real good "Neck Stretch" will learn him. Don,t forget his sons?

      March 23, 2011 at 10:52 am | Report abuse |
  8. enlightenment DWAMN

    People, for once in your boring life stray away from what you were falsely taught and listen to me. The legalization of marijuana alone,(not even including all of the jobs, businesses, tourism, etc. that would thrive outrageously), just the product alone would annually add around 15 to 20 billion dollars to our economy, again not even including everything else. We are in a new age and you must accept what is going to happen and legalization is imminent in our future. It is being used in medicine everywhere and it seems everyday that goes by we discover something more beneficial to us than we could ever even imagine with this magnificent plant. There are no underground labs to grow weed, there is no altering of the product whatsoever, grow a plant let it dry and be enlightened. Nor, is it a drug. To this very second there has never been a reported death caused by marijuana, nor can you overdose. Marijuana does not kill brain calls either. When our "smart" government classified weed as a drug and concluded it killed brain cells and was unhealthy, they took a monkey and fed pounds of weed into a gas mask with no oxygen. Well as you can imagine, the monkey indeed lost brain cells and had health problems but that's because you can't breath in smoke for hours straight with no oxygen or yes you will not be ok. In other words our government classification for weed and its effects are wrong. Just recently they changed this because now we are not as stupid as we were in the old days. Did you know if you took the seeds from a marijuana plant and ground them into a nutritional bar, and then took any oats nutrients and whatever you have in your health bars, it would be 3x as more healthy than any other nutritional grain bar that we have to this day. What im getting at is why are we waiting another day just to very well have the greatest thing, in all aspects, happen to our country? Why not now? The production of certain crops have saved other nations,(even ourselves americans, cotton, alcohol, etc.), from economic collapses.

    March 23, 2011 at 3:37 am | Report abuse |
    • freeman

      And this has WHAT to do with the situation in Libya?

      March 23, 2011 at 2:53 pm | Report abuse |
  9. LOW LYF


    March 23, 2011 at 3:48 am | Report abuse |
  10. enlightenment DWAMN

    Did you know that Marijuana reverses the effects of cancer. Did you know that it is known for sleep aid, pain relief, and in can undo terminal diseases. What we all thought once was impossible is now being solved by a plant that many of you shun. You need to do your research more and in term you will understand what I, and everyone else is saying. The users outnumber the people who disapprove. Not just medically but economically we would thrive in everything. From business, to stocks, to innovation in almost everything we do. Marijuana is an enhancement for your brain, it does not harm it. So my question is if our answer is literally in front of us, why have we not made this happen. Sometimes it takes one to start a movement so be a part and make it happen wherever you are. Be a part of the reason we saved our country. Who would have thought it was a plant the whole time.

    March 23, 2011 at 3:50 am | Report abuse |
  11. sasss31

    For those westerners and in particular so called Americans complaining about "how bad they have it", I would advise them to leave America to live in a totalitarian society of their choice. Then come back and complain how "bad" America is. The same people who make such ridiculous claims are not only brainwashed but have never experienced life under a totalitarian society. I have, I am Iranian-American. Once you have, you will appreciate our country much more and understand the value of a free society and living in democracy and western liberalization.

    March 23, 2011 at 4:00 am | Report abuse |
    • freeman

      Hear Hear!

      March 23, 2011 at 2:54 pm | Report abuse |
  12. enlightenment DWAMN

    Also to anyone who hasnt smoked weed before. Go to a gas station, buy a bowl and try it. You cannot be against something that you have no idea what it is, does, or its effects. You will have the most fun, happy, and knowledgeable experience you have ever had in your life, i can promise you that. You will understand more, and you will feel almost as if you've woken up out of a trance. It does not impair you, you aren't stumbling, you aren't mentally unstable at all. It simply enhances everything you do in a way you have never seen because you've been taught it is bad, that its a drug, that only bad people do it. I hate to tell you but its all a big LIE, go figure right?!?! So business guy reading this, soccer mom, teacher, government official, CNN moderator reading this, Anderson Cooper and everyone from the janitor to the camera guy, Im not typing this from a phone at 4:09am in Florida for no reason, get some and try it, if you don't like it, never do it again ( you will love it). But at least branch away from the lies and see the truth for yourself, experience and knowledge is all you will gain and maybe even more. Stop the ignorance and get with the new generation, its iinevitable.....

    March 23, 2011 at 4:16 am | Report abuse |
    • eedris

      maybe u should further ur enlightenment by telling people the side effects of taking marijuana. cause i know people who av got brain disorder by taking ur so called weed.

      March 23, 2011 at 7:50 am | Report abuse |
    • Newly Enlightened

      Maybe you've had too much weed. Because in no way, shape, or form does your input on herbs relate to anything concerning Lybia or its people. Select individuals, such as yourself, make me feel significantly less intelligent after reading ignorant and pointless comments like this

      March 23, 2011 at 3:04 pm | Report abuse |
  13. ahmed

    why re d western world creating problems in ds our peace4l world

    March 23, 2011 at 4:20 am | Report abuse |
    • freeman

      Why are the peaceful totalitarian dictators murdering their own citizens by the thousands?

      March 23, 2011 at 2:55 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Abbas

    Sooner or later, all dictatorships will come to a revolt. It's against human nature to be ruled by an iron fist or caged, mind and sole. We should all support freedom of all people and stand up to tyrants.

    March 23, 2011 at 4:20 am | Report abuse |
  15. j

    Protecting civilians from bloodthirsty murderers is the most noble use of our weapons of war. The only people opposed to this are morons, racists, and the murderers themselves.

    March 23, 2011 at 4:34 am | Report abuse |
    • de

      And problem is,theirs an Alarming Amount of these kind here. Scarrry,isn,t it??

      March 23, 2011 at 10:59 am | Report abuse |
    • freeman


      March 23, 2011 at 3:08 pm | Report abuse |
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