France, which refused to allow U.S. warplanes to cross...


PARIS -- France, which refused to allow U.S. warplanes to cross French territory en route to Libya, criticized the United States Tuesday for setting the stage for a new 'chain of violence' with its bombing raids.

Libya's ambassador to France called the air strikes early Tuesday 'a declaration of war.' U.S. officials said the attack was to avenge Libyan-backed terrorism.


Foreign Ministry officials said the French Embassy in Tripoli received minor damage in the bombardment and lost electricity. No injuries were reported.

The French television station Antenne 2 showed footage it said was provided by the Libyan government after the bombing showing Libyan leader Col. Moammar Khadafy alive, seated behind a table in conversation with the Soviet ambassador to Tripoli.

Khadafy's head was wrapped in a beige Arabic headdress and television commentators speculated he may have been covering up a head wound because he kept the left side of his head out of view.

No sound accompanied the film. Other portions of the Libyan film showed dead and wounded civilians.

The government of France, which two weeks ago thwarted a planned Libyan attack on a U.S. Embassy building in Paris, said it deplored both terrorism and reprisals in a statement released after President Francois Mitterrand met with Foreign Minister Jean-Bernard Raimond.


'The American intervention that took place last night against Libya was decided by the American government,' the Foreign Ministry statement said.

'Informed of the intentions of the U.S. government, France refused to let the American planes fly over its territory.

'France deplores the intolerable escalation of terrorism that has led to an action of reprisal, which itself restarts the chain of violence,' it said.

The French refusal to allow U.S. warplanes to cross French territory forced American F-111s based in England to fly down the Atlantic coast and around Spain before entering air space over the Mediterranean.

The trip was roughly twice what it would have been had the French given permission for a flyover.

European nations now 'must decide on an appropriate response' in the event Libya 'executes the threats that it has made in regard to the countries of southern Europe, in particular Italy and Spain,' the Foreign Ministry said.

French air and naval bases in southern France were on alert Tuesday against possible reprisals, the Defense Ministry said.

A U.S. official said France informed the United States that Libyan terrorists were planning to attack civilians waiting in line for visas at the consular offices. The official said he did not know when the attack was planned.


He said the embassy believed President Reagan was referring to the Paris Embassy during Reagan's televised speech Monday night, in which he said Libyans were planning an attack on a U.S. consular office in Europe.

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