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. riptaway

    Only little kids and the mentally retarded should have imaginary friends.

    March 24, 2011 at 1:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • EatMeNowPleez

      But I have one and I'm none of those things 😀

      March 24, 2011 at 6:45 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Jean Claude Van Damme

    The problem is they didn't fire the same missile from multiple camera angles, thus hitting the same jet 10 times with just one missile. It's the best way to finish off an opponent in the ring using a flying spinning windmill kick. There I just saved you a few million dollars.

    March 24, 2011 at 1:31 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Offtopic

    Ive seen those rifles, george larson. Highly effecient. In fact, Id be surprised if, regardless what our government tells us, there weren't special ops with those types of weapons on the ground already. Im sure if the opportunity presents itself they'll take full advantage. Whether Ghadaffi is a priority target or not.

    March 24, 2011 at 1:35 pm | Report abuse |
  4. james

    Andy....Are you for real? Gaddafi might be able to attack his own people, but he doesn't have a chance against the US.

    March 24, 2011 at 1:42 pm | Report abuse |
  5. AV8OR

    Fox reports that the Libyan aircraft was on the ground just after having landed. You can't really shoot "down" an aircraft in such status. I think you you have to shoot "up" such an aircraft. Anyway, nice job to you French fighter jocks on shooting up the Galeb.

    March 24, 2011 at 1:43 pm | Report abuse |
  6. tonyL

    You mean that Jesus meant the other humans on earth, created by the same God that created the earth and Christians as serpents and scorpians. If you honestly believe that then you must not understand what Jesus was teaching about.

    March 24, 2011 at 1:43 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Cesar r

    @Mary: My favorite cuban was Desie Arnez, I still see re-runs of Lucy. I doubt this Cesar c is anything like Desie. Your better off with someone like me. I have a long fuse, ie not easily prone to anger. @Cesar c: Bavoso way

    March 24, 2011 at 1:44 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Iwasthere

    So which one are you Ript???

    March 24, 2011 at 1:51 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Jon


    March 24, 2011 at 1:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • Cam Rankin

      Thats Awsome

      March 26, 2011 at 3:34 am | Report abuse |
  10. Frog Prince

    So, the French tried to shoot down another commercial passenger airliner like the USA did over Egypt.....and claimed they thought it was a combat aircraft?...............where's the news?

    ."State TV showed the charred bodies of 18 civilians" the USA showered them with Tomahawk missiles to protect them from harm otherwise they'd be dead....oh wait...they news there....

    Obama sends military support to aid Al Qaeda takeover of Libya....nope, no news there either....

    March 24, 2011 at 1:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • freeman

      I guess you didn't read the news, it was a MILITARY aircraft the French shot at. AT, not down. It actually was able to LAND, so you are wrong on both counts.

      Its funny that you think that Libyan State-controlled television is a reliable source of information! Those 18 were most likely a few of the 2000+ killed by Colonel Qrazy over the last few weeks.

      March 24, 2011 at 2:39 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Me

    @Freddie: Jeezy and Mo are buddies. They are both collecting souls in a sick game. The Koran regards Jeezy as a prophet. Its a pyramid scheme.

    March 24, 2011 at 1:54 pm | Report abuse |
  12. tonyL

    This war needs to have French, British and Arab states to send the ground troops to get Gadhafi and his sons. The world was screaming when the Gadhafi was killing the opposing protesters for US to act immediately. Now since we are following the UN resolution to get Gadhafi, the world is screaming why are we getting involved? Dammed if you do and dammed if you don't. We as a world's only super power has the obligation to act and stop the slaughter by a dictator. We have acted in good faith now the rest of the free world needs to do the same. This is more of a french problem then anyone else. We should arm the pro western rebels. We can strike and get Gadhafi and his sons and the rest will be taken care of by the rebels supported by us.

    March 24, 2011 at 1:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • neolander

      What do you imply by the rest of the free world? Is there a single place where freedom is absolute in the world?

      March 24, 2011 at 9:15 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Ernesto

    jon is gay

    March 24, 2011 at 1:56 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Cesar (communist from tx)

    @Cesar r: there's someone impersonating me way. Desgraciado. Viva Che!

    March 24, 2011 at 1:56 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Rudy NYC

    This is sign of the crazy times that we are living through. I wonder just who exactly these "rebels" are and just what their poliical orientation actually is. Just because they are against Ghadafi does not mean they are pro-Democracy. For all we know, they want to put their despot in charge. It seems to be the prevailing wind in many oil-producing countries. The government always seems to be in complete control of the oil and the people.

    March 24, 2011 at 1:57 pm | Report abuse |
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