Libya live blog: NATO will enforce no-fly zone over Libya, secretary general says
Libyan rebels escort marchers in the streets of Benghazi on March 23 to show their support for a no-fly zone.
March 24th, 2011
07:52 PM ET

Libya live blog: NATO will enforce no-fly zone over Libya, secretary general 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.

[7:52 p.m. ET Thursday, 1:52 a.m. Friday in Libya] White House Press Secretary Jay Carney issued a statement Thursday welcoming the "important contribution by the United Arab Emirates to the enforcement of U.N. Security Council Resolution 1973 in Libya," referring to the UAE's announcement that it will contribute 12 military aircraft to the operation. He added: "This critical participation by the UAE further underscores the broad, international support for the protection of the Libyan people."

[7:13 p.m. ET Thursday, 1:13 a.m. Friday in Libya] All 28 NATO allies have authorized military authorities to develop a plan for NATO to take on the broader mission of civilian protection under U.N. Resolution 1973, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Thursday. Clinton said she will travel to London to attend an international meeting on Libya on Tuesday.

[7:04 p.m. ET Thursday, 1:04 a.m. Friday in Libya] The international coalition is in control of the skies above Libya and humanitarian relief is beginning to reach people who need it, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Thursday.

The number of U.S. planes being used has decreased significantly while the number of non-U.S. planes has increased, she said. Troops have pushed back Gadhafi's forces but they remain "a serious threat to the safety of the people," Clinton said.

[6:45 p.m. ET Thursday, 12:45 a.m. Friday in Libya] Command of enforcing a no-fly zone over Libya is expected to be handed over to NATO by Sunday night, NATO sources told CNN Thursday.

[6:20 p.m. ET Thursday, 12:08 a.m. Friday in Libya] NATO has reached an agreement to take over the no-fly zone in Libya from the United States "in a couple of days," NATO's secretary general said Thursday.

"NATO has now decided to enforce the no-fly zone over Libya. We're taking action as part of the broad international effort to protect civilians," Anders Fogh Rasmussen told CNN's Wolf Blitzer. "We will cooperate closely with our partners in the region and welcome their contributions."

NATO is considering enforcing a wide range of measures called for by the U.N. Security Council resolution on Libya, including the protection of civilians from Gadhafi's ground forces, Rasmussen said.

Military authorities will decided which country will take the initial lead using the "already established chain of command," Rasmussen said.

[5:35 p.m. ET Thursday, 11:35 p.m. Thursday in Libya] The United Arab Emirates says it is committing planes and humanitarian effort in support of the U.N. resolution regarding Libya.

"In support of UN resolution 1973 The UAE is fully engaged with humanitarian operations in Libya. As an extension of those humanitarian operations the UAE Air Force has committed six F-16 and six Mirage aircraft to participate in the patrols that will enforce the No Fly Zone now established over Libya. UAE Participation in the patrols will commence in the coming days."

[5:29 p.m. ET Thursday, 11:29 p.m. Thursday in Libya] Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Mike Mullen, and DNI James Clapper will brief members of Congress next Wednesday on the situation in Libya, according to Speaker John Boehner's office. It will be a classified briefing.

[5:00 p.m. ET Thursday, 11:00 p.m. Thursday in Belgium] At the United Nations, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said he sees no signs of a cease-fire by Libyan government authorities. Ban told council members, "to the contrary, fierce battles continue in and around the cities of" Ajdabiya, Misrata and Zinan. Ban gave his briefing, as required by U.N. Resolution 1973, seven days after that resolution was passed by 10 votes and five abstentions.

[4:39 p.m. ET Thursday, 9:39 p.m. Thursday in Belgium] A tentative agreement for NATO to take over operations in Libya may be in jeopardy, CNN's Paula Newton reports. The Turkish delegation is not happy with the timing of the transition and wants the United States to give up command sooner than previously agreed upon. If a consensus is not reached in the next 20 to 25 minutes, talks will stop for the evening and resume tomorrow.

[4:23 p.m. ET Thursday, 10:23 p.m. Thursday in Libya] Airstrikes were carried out Thursday near Tripoli, Misrata and Ajdabiya, a Pentagon spokesman said. "The only civilian casualties we know are for certain are the ones that the Libyan government itself has caused," U.S. Navy Vice Adm. Bill Gortney said. In response to a question, he further said the U.S. military was not communicating with Libyan opposition forces.

[3:31 p.m. ET Thursday, 9:31 p.m. Thursday in Libya] Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Defense Secretary Robert Gates, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen and National Intelligence Director James Clapper will brief members of Congress on Libya on March 30, a Republican source said. The briefing will be classified, the source said.

[3:29 p.m. ET Thursday, 9:29 p.m. Thursday in Libya] A CNN team on the ground has reported hearing explosions and anti-aircraft fire in Tripoli.

[3:21 p.m. ET Thursday, 9:21 p.m. Thursday in Libya] U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said during a Security Council briefing that he sees no signs of a cease-fire by Libyan government authorities. Ban told council members that "fierce battles continue in and around the cities of" Ajdabiya, Misrata and Zinan. He added that his envoy to Libya told Libyan authorities that if the government did not comply with the cease-fire resolution, "the Security Council was prepared to take additional measures."

[3:10 p.m. ET Thursday, 9:10 p.m. Thursday in Libya] A deal has been reached for NATO to take command of the military mission in Libya in the coming days, two diplomatic officials said. The deal was reached after a conference call between U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and her counterparts from Britain, France and Turkey.

[2:42 p.m. ET Thursday, 8:42 p.m. Thursday in Libya] A doctor told CNN that 109 people have been killed and more than 1,300 wounded in the western Libyan city of Misrata over the past week.

[1:45 p.m. ET Thursday, 7:45 p.m. Thursday in Libya] The Libyan mission is a "time-limited, scope-limited" military action to protect civilians in Libya, White House spokesman Jay Carney said. "It is certainly not a large-scale, open-ended military action," he added, emphasizing that no ground troops or military invasion were involved. Asked earlier about criticism over President Barack Obama's consultations with Congress on the mission, Carney said the president "believes that he is the commander in chief and leadership requires him to take action where action will save lives." Carney cited a series of meetings, hearings and briefings by top administration officials, including Obama, with members of Congress. Had Obama not acted on Libya, Carney said, Moammar Gadhafi would control the rebel stronghold of Benghazi and large numbers of people would have been killed.

[1:04 p.m. ET Thursday, 7:04 p.m. Thursday in Libya] The United States still expects to hand over control of the Libya military mission within "days, not weeks," White House spokesman Jay Carney said Thursday.

[12:34 p.m. ET Thursday, 6:43 p.m. Thursday in Libya] French jets fired on a Libyan combat aircraft Thursday as it was landing at a military airfield in the western city of Misrata, the French Defense Ministry said. The Libyan plane was in violation of the no-fly zone, the ministry said. You can follow CNN's full coverage of the incident here.

[7:33 a.m. ET Thursday, 1:33 p.m. Thursday in Libya] A Misrata resident told CNN he heard a single large explosion within the past hour and pro-Gadhafi snipers were operating in the city, Otherwise Misrata was quiet Thursday, he said. He claimed that rebels remained in control of the port.  The resident also said there had been airstrikes on the outskirts of Misrata Wednesday night.

[7:28 a.m. ET Thursday, 1:28 p.m. Thursday in Libya] At least 30 French aircraft were engaged over Libya in the past 24 hours, the French Defense Ministry said.

[5:44 a.m. ET Thursday, 11:44 a.m. Thursday in Libya] Libyan state television showed footage of what they said were the charred bodies of 18 civilians and military officials killed in a coalition attack in Tajura. Leaders with the coalition forces have in the past refuted Libyan reports that civilians were killed by airstrikes. "It is not likely that civilians were a part of any airstrike today," said Joint Task Force Operation Odyssey Dawn Lt. Cmdr. Jim Hoeft.

[2:20 a.m. ET Thursday, 8:20 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.

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.

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."

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.

soundoff (373 Responses)
  1. John

    @Austin: The reason leaders of resource-rich countries don't care about their citizens is they don't need their people to sustain the economy. As long as natural resources can be sold, whoever is in power and controls those resources controls the country. It's the same thing in other third-world but resource-rich countries, whether the resource is gold, diamonds, oil, or whatever. The leader doesn't need the support of the citizens, he only needs another country that's willing to buy from him. Then he can be sitting on billions of dollars, as this one is.

    March 24, 2011 at 11:42 am | Report abuse |
  2. Edward

    Problem here is that UN resolution can not be lukewarm. Either Ghadafi must remain on power or not. If yes, installing a no fly zone instead of helping reduce killings, it can increase them. Remember that people accepts defeat when they see a stronger enemy. If enemy is stronger but not extremely strong, fight will keep going and more lifes will be claimed. If UN believes Ghadafi has not the right to rule, then its job is to catch that fish immediately. The more time it takes, more inocent people will die. As in chess, the moment yo catch the king game finish, no matter how many pieces are in play.

    March 24, 2011 at 12:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kakete

      Hey, the truth cannot be told in any more or any words than those you just used. You are right all way.

      March 24, 2011 at 6:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • neolander

      Plane and simple, UN resolution says protect civilians. US foreign policy on libya since the 1980s is Gadhafi must go

      March 24, 2011 at 8:54 pm | Report abuse |
  3. george larson

    saw a show that the US has a rifel that can hit a target a mile and a half away. Hey PRES.>>>> heres end game

    March 24, 2011 at 12:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lotto Cheatah

      Current sniper record kill is 3 miles with a single shot; Canadian sniper in Afganastan.

      March 24, 2011 at 4:15 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Iceman

    The plaque for the alternates is down in the ladies room. You can be my wingman anytime.

    March 24, 2011 at 12:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Iwasthere

      No no, there's 2 "o's" on Goose guys...

      March 24, 2011 at 1:49 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Tom Berringer

    Or one shot 2 kills....

    March 24, 2011 at 1:00 pm | Report abuse |
  6. michaelfury

    Sell Raytheon now:

    March 24, 2011 at 1:02 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Andy Momoh

    America and her allies are playing a dangerous game that may end America's super power status in the world. America and the whole are still struggling to survive the Iraq war. America may not survive this. Gaddafi will fight back at the appropriate time. He prove to the whole world that he is a combat soldier with many years of experience. How America will get out of this mess, time will tell. Good luck!

    March 24, 2011 at 1:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Randy

      are you serious Andy? Do you really think the moman can touch us? He may knock down a plane or two at best, but if we were serious about this war we'd be mopping the desert with his rear in a few hours.

      March 24, 2011 at 1:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Cam Rankin

      In case rest of the world wants to know what our weakness is, no its not your armed forces rebels muslim extremist etc., they are spirited and brave at best. Gaddafi guys last 48 – 72 hours max standing toe to toe with US and NATO, its our press, yep you convince our News and Media and boom we are done, pulled out , pack up and going home. Now if you Idiots just figure that out keep the US at bay and tyranny going strong.

      All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent.
      Thomas Jefferson

      March 26, 2011 at 3:32 am | Report abuse |
  8. Reality

    I thought that French jets just deployed white flags of surrender? One must have gotten into the intake of the Libyan jet and stalled it out.

    March 24, 2011 at 1:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • bryanfred

      You'll notice that they didn't hit the Libyan jet, despite the fact it was apparently in the act of landing and thus a sitting duck.

      March 24, 2011 at 1:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • famaur78

      You stupid idiot !!!!!
      Without the French, you would be an English citizen .... well this is probably what you are anyway ....

      March 24, 2011 at 2:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • bryanfred

      If you really want to go there, better a British citizen than a Nazi conquest. Best to leave 200+ year-old history out of it.

      March 24, 2011 at 2:29 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Avi Shlomo

    hey Loser as Helen Thomas said and I paraphrase: get the HELL out of Libya. Let's solve our own problem. Our security means decent jobs, education, health care and first class R &D" and shove that Luke book somehwere. why is not people like you are unwilling to help America while arre so genorous when it comes to playing games in other nations?

    March 24, 2011 at 1:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • bubblebuster

      March 24, 2011 at 4:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • moxyfaux

      a reason he says we shouldnt give money to cuba is because its communist? heck, corporations just handed the american dream to the chinese...i guess they must be part of the green party? independents?...i dunno one of those right?

      March 24, 2011 at 4:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • seeallpoints

      Even as a liberal I really appreciate some of those ideas. He may have sounded a little un-educated, mis pronouncing Venezula and claiming the Muslim Brotherhood as evil (Many have made appearences and appear to be quite civil). What he is saying is vital though. We have to look out for ourselves before everyone else. Oh yeah and I believe Egypt but those tanks from us they werent free...

      March 24, 2011 at 7:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Cam Rankin

      Yeah He did have some good points, we should def break that stuff down. If your not at least co-operative with us then to hell with ya. We should focus alot lot more here at home and take care of ourselves. Poor President,......he is doing the best that he can. As a Libertarian, I voted against him, he may actually get my vote if he keeps doing the best that he can, thats all I ask.

      March 26, 2011 at 3:04 am | Report abuse |
    • Amygadalus communis

      WE are ONE-GET IT! It may be your last chance, avi.

      March 26, 2011 at 6:56 am | Report abuse |
  10. Chessnutz of Liverpool NY

    Really? Really????? My brother did not die for you to worship him. He died to teach you the unconditional Love that surrounds us everyday.

    March 24, 2011 at 1:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • CutiesNconfused

      I am confused....was your brother a librarian, if so I am very sorry for your loss=(

      March 24, 2011 at 7:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Amygadalus communis

      I loved volunteering at my grade school library. Those were the happiest days of my life. Pre MTV. I remember the first day. Remember "Video killed the radio store'. I glad it never came true. I love the radio.

      March 26, 2011 at 2:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • bbarc




      March 27, 2011 at 10:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • gwiz

      The jews, muslims and christians have the same, GOD the problem is how each see christ

      March 27, 2011 at 11:29 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Cesar r

    @Mary: Watch him Mary, Cesar c is a Cuban. He has a bad temper.

    March 24, 2011 at 1:13 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Tech

    @ AVI ..... u are to stupid to understand that our actions in all these far away places directly effect our way of living in the united states. do some research u moron.

    March 24, 2011 at 1:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • Irony

      "@ AVI ..... u are to stupid to understand that our actions in all these far away places directly effect our way of living in the united states. do some research u moron."

      If you're going to call someone a moron, try not typing like one. I'm not defending AVI's position as much as I am annoyed by you.

      March 24, 2011 at 6:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • neolander

      the only effect it has on you is that you are able to buy things on credit then claim to be bankcrupt when you can't pay back. Get welfare while you sit your lazy ass at home on soda and popcorn

      March 24, 2011 at 8:49 pm | Report abuse |
  13. JigSaw

    Someone's playing a deadly game.... Yes dying on a cross shows me just how much love surrounds me. And cannn you feeell the loovvveee tonigghhttt?...

    March 24, 2011 at 1:15 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Steven Sheen

    I thought libya was a no fly zone already.

    March 24, 2011 at 1:24 pm | Report abuse |
  15. bigbone

    Get out let them work out their own future. .jayzus this countrys intelligence is going down the drain

    March 24, 2011 at 1:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lotto Cheatah

      Will you fee that way when the chinese come for you?

      March 24, 2011 at 4:20 pm | Report abuse |
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