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. Atomic Lobotomy

    We live under dictatorship of Goldman Sachs!!!

    March 23, 2011 at 7:09 am | Report abuse |
    • bbarc

      Goldsman Sachs and MANY other players/plotters.

      March 23, 2011 at 7:33 am | Report abuse |
    • freeman

      Oh, the horrors of having credit card debt! How do you manage to cope?
      I'm sure the thousands dying in the streets in Libya by their own military's weapons would feel sorry for you!

      March 23, 2011 at 3:17 pm | Report abuse |
  2. personny

    Israel is becoming a nation. http: http://www.nopolicestate.bloggspot.com72p

    March 23, 2011 at 7:13 am | Report abuse |
  3. Brandon Cassidy

    Wow what a joke whats more important firing 250 tomahawk missiles or elevating the $500 million dollar California State University budget deficit. Hmm I guess the missiles. War always takes priority over education as it should.

    March 23, 2011 at 7:13 am | Report abuse |
  4. kelvin70

    It should be the other way round:
    "Let all Caesars bomb Gadhafi".
    Let all Caesars speedily finalize plans to bomb Ahmadinejad.
    Let all Caesars hastily perfect plans to bomb Kim Jong-un Il, too, to liberate their citizen

    March 23, 2011 at 7:14 am | Report abuse |
  5. BOB FROM BRIDGEPORT

    DROP & DONE-THAT SOUND GREAT-BUT CAN WE TRY IT FIRST ON THR REPUBLICAN PARTY!

    March 23, 2011 at 7:21 am | Report abuse |
    • stylo might

      Bob, only after 4pm and when the tea-pot is empty

      March 23, 2011 at 7:50 am | Report abuse |
  6. Gil

    Brandon, your sarcasm is noted. You have a valid point. This world would be better with less bombings and better allocation of federal funding.

    March 23, 2011 at 7:44 am | Report abuse |
  7. Tsunami2k

    I did think it is rather odd that there are several other counties were people are dying in more mass amounts, and for some reason we want to 'help' out the people of Libya. The costs are outstanding. Like the world/USA honestly cares that much about other people when we have people in our own country dying from poverty, disease, and lack of education on essential life skills....

    March 23, 2011 at 7:49 am | Report abuse |
    • Jack

      Get over your elitist comments. We are finally stepping up to do the right thing, to maybe payback for all the interventions we dodged in the past and are currently dodging now. America under Obama is for the will of the people, and it's evident here, and eventually when we have the financially means we will aspire to better more countries in the future.

      March 23, 2011 at 4:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Guest

      Obama's will is no the ultimate will of the people. We are in enough a mess as is.

      March 23, 2011 at 6:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • JackNukeMaster

      This is about imperialism and power! It has nothing to do with humanitarian aide or making a NO FLY ZONE. It is a BS excuse to go in there and play Hitler. You don't see anything happening about Yemen or Syria. Why? Because we will lose if we start going after all those Arab countries, so we go after the one that has the most use to us and that is Libya. Now when I say us, I am not just talking about the US, but NATO and the UN and the IC. They are trying to pave the way to keep order and that is to get this One World Order or govt. Started which has already been discussed and was bound to happen sooner or later. We as Americans are going to be the butt end of our own disaster from all of this. Wait and see! Then when it happens you can turn back and say Dang jackNukeMaster was right. Either way we will have the war brought here.

      March 23, 2011 at 6:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • bbarc

      Who will rule? After 42 years of opression, who will be trusted, qualified, brave enough to stand? I just HOPE that it will be freedom that reigns and not another reign of terror.

      March 23, 2011 at 10:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • Over It

      I agree. There are far greater attrocities going on in the world, affecting far more people.
      It appears the leaders of the so called "coalition of the willing Mk2" have decided to use civil unrest within Libya as the excuse to enforce a regime change.
      If the "rebels" win, what's next? What do they stand for? Are they going to represent all the people of Libya, or will it be pay back time?

      March 23, 2011 at 10:47 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Владимир

    Нужно чтобы Каддафи устоял, иначе страна будет обречена на нищету, безработицу, междуусобицу.

    March 23, 2011 at 8:34 am | Report abuse |
    • American Idiot

      #$^&^&$& )NNH(*(&H _+!!<?| pony )*&HJL:}

      March 23, 2011 at 2:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • marcia

      aeoiu øˆ¨“ºª•‘–ªºµ‘˜“º¥ “˙“ºª¨ ‘–¨ª!!!!!!

      March 23, 2011 at 5:23 pm | Report abuse |
  9. KT

    BRING THE TROOPS HOME!
    BRING THE TROOPS HOME!
    BRING THE TROOPS HOME!

    March 23, 2011 at 8:44 am | Report abuse |
  10. cole

    we need to take the money Gadhafi has in our banks(America's banks) and spend it on planes and war type things to attack him. But, we must keep civilian casualties at a minimal. I think i heard we have something near 29 billion dollars of Gadhafi s money frozen. jst use that to maney to pay for all the expenses to get Gadhafi out of office. IMHO

    March 23, 2011 at 8:52 am | Report abuse |
    • ron

      Cole, you are right. All the money we froze from Gadhafi (in the billions) could and should be used to pay for this military action. After all, this military action is for the protection of the Libyan people. So we should hit Gadhafi in the pocketbook and let his funds pay the the mess he started. If we use his funds for this military action, this will silence all the those who ask how are we going to pay the the war. The answer is simple, Gadhafi will pay for the war by using HIS funds. PROBLEM SOLVEDL.

      March 23, 2011 at 10:22 am | Report abuse |
    • conoclast

      Oh gosh, the banks already spent Gadhaffi's money on CEO bonuses. But we taxpayers don't mind, do we. Just put the bill on top of the pile there where it'll be ignored like the rest. (note to tea-baggers: this is sarcasm; don't be frightened)

      March 23, 2011 at 8:59 pm | Report abuse |
  11. KT

    Who asked the AMERICAN PUBLIC if We should spend money and spill blood for Libya.
    I don't know a dang thing about why they are revolting. AND I should not have to know. Why should the american public be fleeced for ever rebellion and revolt that takes place in this world. Stop this war machine. Bring all the troops home. Defend our country, pay our bills. If someone wants our help, let them come ask and pay for it.

    March 23, 2011 at 8:55 am | Report abuse |
    • conoclast

      If you admittedly don't know a dang thing about the subject you're discussing, one wonders how you can have such iron-clad opinions about it, hmm? Do something useful: go join a militia or something. Otherwise you're a waste of time!

      March 23, 2011 at 9:09 pm | Report abuse |
  12. KT

    What do we know about these revolters? Maybe these revolters are more crazy than Qadafi. Does anyone know if life really was terrible in Libya before this? What if a few decide to revolt in this country? Does that give the right of the UN to permit airstrikes on DC?

    Why should I have to pay the bill, because some guys in the streets of Libya decided to pick a fight with the Libyan Government? Why do I have to pay for it? These guys should have counted the costs before they picked a fight with a well armed government. And then set forth in bringing about a peaceful change of government like Ghandi and MLK. Their way takes longer, but it is the right way.

    To the US Government: NO One in America wants us to go attack Libya. NOT ONE. Ask us first. Bring all the troops home. If someone wants to come attack us, bring it on we will kick their butt. Butt please bring ALL the troops home.

    March 23, 2011 at 9:04 am | Report abuse |
    • woodsnut

      i think you better go look at the polls before you speak : 7 out of 10 americans support this campaign and i'm one of them that does.we are not in this alone as we all know and now more and more arab countries have joined in too. we,the united states are known for freedom and we are there to help the people anywhere in the world achieve it.so not only are you wrong in your statement but your wrong in not supporting our personel on our ship,in our jets and at our bases that are under ORDERS to defend the libyans against slaughter

      March 23, 2011 at 11:04 am | Report abuse |
  13. Digi_PI

    An assasination of Gadhafi would have cost a lot less than the billions that's going to be spent on this war.

    March 23, 2011 at 9:36 am | Report abuse |
  14. angelprints

    What ever happened to PEACE? where is it? What ever happened to the world we use to live in? why are we fighting and killing? I agree to stop the evil ones for killing inocent lives... Can't these leaders down in the Middle East be more caring and start creating peace and not murdering and stop all hatred against people? Just sad, very sad. I feel so bad for the children and inocent lives being killed. It's not right at all. We need more Peace in this world!! Hope we will have more Peace soon.

    March 23, 2011 at 10:01 am | Report abuse |
    • 4everpeace

      i agree with you 100%. it's always innocent harmless chidren who suffer the most.

      March 23, 2011 at 11:04 am | Report abuse |
    • ConfusedGrandma

      Amen to that!

      March 23, 2011 at 1:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • conoclast

      Welcome to the New Reality. But wouldn't it be nice if the multinational corporations did their own dirty-work instead of using up our proxy-military? Let Halliburton and Sony raise their own armies; their wars are NOT our wars.

      March 23, 2011 at 9:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • bbarc

      Ditto, Confused Grandma.

      March 23, 2011 at 9:21 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Mr. Sprouse

    My opinion: Good things in protecting civilians, now pull out of the gray-space and kill the genocidal maniac so we can all move on with our lives or this as is all for nothing. And when you're done killing him, make sure he isn't replace by someone equally as homicidal or worse, like al-queda. And at the same time, all of your ciritics out there could shut up and get behind the ones who actually MAKE the hard decisions and create some momentum in the direction of the RIGHT, hard decisions.

    March 23, 2011 at 10:33 am | Report abuse |
    • JohnM

      There is no one else to lead Libya – that is the problem. Just a bunch of rebels and thugs who will continue to fight and kill. We have created another mess. Not much different then Iraq...........ten years and counting – thousands of lives – for what.

      March 23, 2011 at 3:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • More $ wins

      "We" did not start nor create the mess.

      March 23, 2011 at 6:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • conoclast

      Simple. So that you can sit on your fat butt at the computer and demonstrate your ignorance - without fear of government reprisal.

      March 23, 2011 at 8:44 pm | Report abuse |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14