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. jake

    @ Freddie You my friend are a number 1 idiot!

    March 24, 2011 at 3:03 pm | Report abuse |
  2. tuchlu

    Libya live blog: 109 killed over week of fighting in Misrata

    March 24, 2011 at 3:04 pm | Report abuse |
  3. mttrailboss

    Why didn't the United States and its allies in this no-fly zone, attack and take out the Libyan military 'tanks', that attacked the innocent patients in the hospital yesterday. The hospital and its patients and staff were attacked for more than three hours and there was 'no' protection from United States aircraft or its allies in this UN operation. I think, its time to take out Colonel Moammar al-Gadhafis' military 'tanks' that are killing innocent Libyan citizens, who are fighting for their freedom, individual rights and more opportunites in their life within Libya, and democracy for their country. Its time, we and the 'freedom fighters' get closer to Colonel Moammar al-Gadgafi and his son, Seif al-Islam Gadhafi and make their life and area of operation a lot smaller. Why we and our allies have not taken out the government or state run television station is beyond me. All that the government or state owned television says are lies. Its time, to take out the military 'tanks and television station'. Both are a tough match for the 'freedom fighters' including the truth on what is happening in Libya. Where is the air support, especailly when the hospital was being attacked for three hours by Colonel Moammar al-Gadhafis' military tanks ? What protection ? Mike in Montana

    March 24, 2011 at 3:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • neolander

      How can you be in Montana and yet be reporting what is happening in Misrata? Just curious

      March 24, 2011 at 9:26 pm | Report abuse |
  4. tuchlu

    109 killed over week of fighting Video Online

    March 24, 2011 at 3:13 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Rudy NYC

    Somehow I think that this whole episode is one of those scenarios filled with surprising intrigue, with wheels inside of wheels inside of wheels spinning around. Something just does not feel right all of the unrest throughout the Middle East.

    Yeah, yeah, I've heard the rationale that one country emboldens another. There's more to it, though. A whole lot more behind it. I say this because there is no clear cut face, a leader of some kind, behind or motivating any of these events in any country. And it is spreading.

    Something of great significance has changed. And no one seems to be talking about it publicly.

    March 24, 2011 at 3:19 pm | Report abuse |
  6. tuchlu

    fighting Video Online HD

    March 24, 2011 at 3:20 pm | Report abuse |
  7. LOGAN


    March 24, 2011 at 3:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Gina

      I agree. This is will be war with out end. We need to pull out now and get everyone else to pull out also. These people fight without rules. The world can see there is no regard for human life whatsoever. There has to be a different way.

      March 24, 2011 at 3:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • Cal Al

      I disagree with the WW3 scare. This is the youth of the world standing up for themselves like we've been telling them to for decades. The "children of tomorrow" are out there begging for help. We cannot desert them. Every middle eastern country is different and it does no good to compare them. Unfortunately, not all transitions can be bloodless. I commend countries like Morocco for changing things on their own before violence can erupt. The coalition should help the opposition get to Tripoli and then stand back as the citizens pull the rat out of his hole and either hang him or put him on trial. Have faith in our youth not to let negative forces replace evil with evil. If these common people of the middle east can stand up to "leaders" like ghaddafi, they can stand up to al qieda. Give them a chance.

      March 24, 2011 at 4:32 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Rudy NYC

    And no I am not a conspiracy theorist, either. Things of significance happen for significant reasons.

    March 24, 2011 at 3:21 pm | Report abuse |
  9. thisguy

    Im sure John and Luke are great people, only this is not church, so im going to have to kindly ask them to GTFO as this is not a place to spew religion/personal religious beliefs.

    March 24, 2011 at 3:22 pm | Report abuse |
  10. fineart

    Hey shlomo; the United States has had a problem since it's inception and thats racism. It started with the almost complete annihilation of the Indians than moved on to importing slaves and raping and killing them. There did seem to be a very short period where we thought things would change, but guess what; Muslims. Europeans have a blood lust with killing those that don't look like them. Well now.... the population numbers have changed and people of color are much more tolerant.
    Thank the Universal Conscienceness.

    March 24, 2011 at 3:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lotto Cheatah

      There is no nation in the world which has not displaced its indigineous people with another. America is no different. in case you didn't notice, America now has an African American president. Does that mean that those of us of European decent are now to be descriminated against?
      The world has changed. Racism is, except for a few diehard rednecks, dead.

      March 24, 2011 at 4:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • Anthony

      I second that notion.

      March 24, 2011 at 8:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • socrates

      This is not a full scale war anyway, call it war when ground forces are deployed, which is not happening. By the way, part of the $30 billion of Libya’s assets which are frozen by the U.S government will pay for the cost of operation. The Libyans can afford it. The whole country is floating on a sea of oil. Even if we have to carry the cost, we have to spend money to make money. We will see the benefits of this operation later on, you need to be patient.

      March 25, 2011 at 12:09 am | Report abuse |
    • gaigai

      Ground troops are necessay to occupy the oil fields. Otherwise French will be there first and steal all the oil. After getting rid of Gaddafi, we should also get rid of militias in the east because most of fighters are AlQaeda. They think we are fools and want to use us to get rid of Gaddafi, we let them fight through and kill most of each other and then we send ground force to take the oil field. We then pump the oil like mad, oil price will then drop to abou $10 per gallon.

      March 25, 2011 at 12:34 am | Report abuse |
  11. OffensiveJerk

    Everyone is so ANGRYYYYYYYYYYY!!!

    March 24, 2011 at 3:29 pm | Report abuse |
  12. tuchlu


    March 24, 2011 at 3:32 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Kingston

    I don't understand what is this war is all about. Sometimes it appears testing new weaponaries or i say maybe they after the oil. What is going on here?

    March 24, 2011 at 3:34 pm | Report abuse |
  14. stejo

    To quote Cartman: "I'm gonna get down on my knees and start pleasin' Jesus. Feel his salvation all over my face."

    March 24, 2011 at 3:45 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Bill

    How much money does this cost the US taxpayers daily? What department is funding all this money and most importantly; what strategic interests of the US are being defended here? I am a confused and disgruntled taxpayer and do not understand why we are not building infrastructure in our own country instead of destroying infrastructure in Libya. I guess we will have to rebuild everything we blow up over there as we have done in Iraq.

    March 24, 2011 at 3:50 pm | Report abuse |
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