UK airstrike called off for safety reasons

March 21, 2011 at 7:52 PM
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TRIPOLI, Libya, March 21 (UPI) -- A missile attack on Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi's compound in Tripoli by British forces was postponed due international news crews nearby, Fox News said.

British sources said British aircraft ready to fire seven Storm Shadow missiles Sunday had to stand down when it was discovered crews from CNN and other organizations were nearby, Fox News reported Monday.

The U.S. network said the journalists had been brought to the compound by Libya's Ministry of Information to show them damage inflicted by initial attacks and to use them as human shields.

The postponement of the missile attack annoyed coalition members, Fox News reported.

The New York Times said the Libyan government released four of its journalists Monday, nearly a week after they were detained.

The group was released into the custody of Turkish diplomats who were to accompany them out of Libya.

The journalists were covering the conflict between government and rebel forces in the eastern city of Ajdabiya when they were detained.

The Libyan government released the Times' Beirut bureau chief, Anthony Shadid, two photographers, Tyler Hicks and Lynsey Addario, and videographer Stephen Farrell.

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