U.S. uses Predator drones over Libya

April 23, 2011 at 11:05 AM
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TRIPOLI, Libya, April 23 (UPI) -- The U.S. military has begun using Predator drones in Libya, the Pentagon said Saturday.

No further details were available, the BBC reported.

In Tripoli, NATO air raids killed three people Saturday and two bombs struck a bunker in Moammar Gadhafi's compound, government officials said.

Government spokesman Mussa Ibrahim showed reporters the aftermath of the strike, which showed two bombs had shattered the concrete and steel and left a large crater, the BBC reported.

The British broadcaster said the bunker was on the periphery of the compound and didn't appear to be part of the central security area.

In the besieged port city of Misurata, 120 miles east of Tripoli, the army had been ordered to halt but pro-Gadhafi tribes threatened to take the fight into their own hands, Deputy Foreign Minister Khaled Kaim said.

He asserted that the army had tried to minimize civilian casualties, but the tribes would not show such restraint.

"Now there is an ultimatum before the Libyan army. If they can't resolve the problem in Misurata then the people from the region ... will move in," Kaim said.

There has been fierce street fighting in the city for six weeks as NATO jets bombarded Gadhafi artillery positions, The Daily Telegraph said. The exact death toll isn't known, but aid organizations say at least 1,000 people have been killed in Misurata.

U.S. Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told reporters U.S. and NATO airstrikes have destroyed 30 percent to 40 percent of Libya's ground forces, the BBC said.

The revolt calling for Gadhafi to end his 42 years of rule began in February with calls for political reform. Gadhafi responded by using his military to put down demonstrations and refused international calls to respect the country's citizens. The United Nations then authorized NATO to enforce a no-fly zone and take out government command and control and artillery positions.

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