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NATO running low on bombs in Libya

BERLIN, April 16 (UPI) -- NATO planes flying combat missions over Libya are starting to run out of bombs, officials said Friday.

Only six countries are involved in the operation and other members of NATO remain reluctant to become involved. That means the United States, which turned over bombing runs to NATO at the beginning of April, will probably have to resume them to keep the effort going if Moammar Gadhafi remains in power, The Washington Post reported.

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A NATO official told the Post U.S. bombers are on "12-hour standby."

The Libyan rebels have requested ground troops and asked NATO to increase the bombing. On Friday, they said Gadhafi's forces used cluster bombs in Misurata, a port in western Libya, and Human Rights Watch concurred.

At a meeting in Berlin this week, Britain and France urged more NATO countries to join the mission.

"The reason we need more capability isn't because we aren't hitting what we see -- it's so that we can sustain the ability to do so," one NATO official told the Post. "One problem is flight time, the other is munitions."

The United States cannot simply supply laser-guided bombs to NATO because the U.S. munitions do not fit on British and French planes.

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