Spain pulls four F18 jets from Libya
Spain said on Wednesday that it was withdrawing its four F-18 fighter jets assigned to the NATO air campaign in Libya due to positive developments in the north African country.
"We took this decision because of positive developments" on the ground and "we hope that we will be able to move as soon as possible to a second phase" of the NATO operation, Defence Minister Carmne Chacon said as Spain marked its National Day with the traditional military parade.
She told Spanish television that the new situation made it possible for Madrid to pull out its F-18 "which remain ready on home soil in case of need."
The minister pointed out that Spain still had two refueling aircraft in Libya and would continue to help enforce the UN-mandated arms embargo on the country with a frigate and a maritime patrol aircraft.
Meanwhile in Libya, forces of the new regime were poised Wednesday to seize full control of Moamer Kadhafi's hometown after meeting little resistance and taking several key objectives.
A day after seizing Sirte's police headquarters, the National Transitional Council forces were still closing in from the east and west on ever smaller pockets of pro-Kadhafi forces.
The NTC forces had besieged Sirte from September 15 before launching on Friday what they termed a "final assault" that has seen nearly 80 of their number killed and hundreds wounded, according to medics.
© 2011 AFP