Sunday, July 17, 2011

Britain to send more RAF to Libya

Source: Press TV

Britain has announced a decision to send more Tornado warplanes to Libya to support the NATO's military operations against forces loyal to Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi.

UK Foreign Office Minister Alistair Burt announced the deployment of four more Tornado aircraft, a move which London has apparently taken to further mount the pressure on Gaddafi.

"These are the aircraft which are particularly well equipped for surveillance and reconnaissance, and as the conflict has gone on and the targets have become harder to detect it is important to have this capability available," Burt said.

"They have the capability to launch airstrikes," he added.

The announcement came after NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen urged the coalition's member states to provide more warplanes to bomb the Gaddafi loyalists and to protect the Libyan civilians.

The UK has also deployed 12 Typhoon multi-role warplanes to aid the NATO military operations over Libya. The planes are stationed at Gioia del Colle, Italy, ready to be employed over Libya.

Major General Nick Pope, the Chief of the Defense Staff's communications officer, said the latest deployment would bolster NATO's reconnaissance capability without affecting the US-led forces' operations in Afghanistan.

"As a formidable attack aircraft this deployment will also provide a useful secondary increase to NATO's overall strike capability," he noted.

The coalition forces began the military operations over Libya in March to save the lives of the Libyan civilians from the pro-Gaddafi forces.

But Libya's Prosecutor General Mohamed Zekri Mahjubi revealed that the NATO airstrikes have killed 1,108 civilians and wounded 4,537 others since the end of March.

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