Canadian CF-18 fighter jets
Source: Press TV
Canada's Defense Minister Peter MacKay has announced that Ottawa's jet fighters have joined a US-led Western coalition conducting a military operation over Libya.
MacKay told reporters in Ottawa on Monday that Canadian forces have joined the US-led military alliance in a bid to protect the civilian population, a Press TV correspondent reported.
"We want to ensure that civilians are no longer the subject or the target of the [Muammar] Gaddafi regime's brutality and I can confirm today that the Canadian Forces have now conducted its first air operation," MacKay told a press conference in Ottawa on Monday.
The fighters arrived at their forward base in Trapani, Italy, on the weekend.
"This morning, four CF-18 fighter aircraft and two CC-150 Polaris strategic air refuelers departed Italy and conducted patrols off the northern coast of Libya," he said.
Defense sources say the mission did not involve attacking ground targets in the North African country.
The Canadian House of Commons is set to debate the Libyan crisis and Canada's military role.
On Sunday night, explosions rocked Libya's capital city as the US-led forces staged fresh airstrikes.
One of the raids flattened a building in Colonel Gaddafi's residence, which is said to have been his command and control center.
Dozens of civilians have been killed in Libya since the US, Britain, France and some other Western countries launched their attacks on the North African country.
Arab League chief Amr Moussa said on Monday that the invasion was in violation of Resolution 1973, which calls for the protection of civilians.
"What is happening in Libya differs from the aim of imposing a no-fly zone, and what we want is the protection of civilians and not the bombardment of more civilians," he said.