WASHINGTON, April 15, 1986 (UPI) - Text of a statement read today by White House spokesman Larry Speakes on Monday night's U.S. air strikes against Libya:
As of this morning, 16 of the 18 F-111 fight-bombers have returned to their base in Mildenhall, England. One plane which developed mechanical problems en route has landed in Spain. One F-111 remains unaccounted for. A naval and search operation is currently under way to locate this aircraft. All carrier-based aircraft have returned to the carriers without incident.
In our assessment of the situation, we believe that we have struck a blow against terrorism. We have sent a message to (Libyan leader Moammar) Khadafy.
Our objective was to inflict damage to Khadafy's capability to direct and control the export of international terrorism. The United States and, for that matter, all freedom-loving peoples of the world, cannot tolerate terrorism. When we can clearly identify those responsible for terrorist acts, we will hold them accountable.
The goal, therefore, was to strike targets in a way that would damage Khadafy's capability to perpetrate terrorist acts. We wanted to show that such attacks are a consequence of undertaking terrorist actions, that terrorism cannot be supported without incurring a heavy price. We have successfully accomplished both objectives.
We hope this action will deter future terrorist attacks. It was to send a clear message that we will no longer tolerate the death of innocent Americans and others. We are confident this message was heard and understood.