French aircraft carrier to join Libya effort from Greece

22nd March 2011, Comments 0 comments

Greece will open its airspace to warplanes operating from the French aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle, enabling them to join the international campaign in Libya, a Greek military source said Tuesday.

The French carrier is expected at the island of Crete by Wednesday and will position itself in international waters, the general staff source told AFP.

"Greece will give the green light to French fighters operating from the aircraft carrier on this date," the source said.

The island of Crete is a strategic springboard for operations in Libya.

Following the UN Security Council Resolution 1973, a number of Western nations have sent fighter jets to the Mediterranean to cripple Libya strongman Moamer Kadhafi's forces which have been attacking Libyan civilians.

The international campaign includes France, Britain, the United States, Norway, Denmark, Canada and Belgium.

Eight Belgian F-16 jets were in Greece for exercises when the Libya operation began.

Six of them have been earmarked for the campaign and Athens has placed the military base of Araxos in the Peloponnese peninsula at their disposal.

Another six Mirage 2000 fighters from Qatar plus three more from France are expected to reach the military base of Souda on Crete later today.

Six Norwegian F-16 fighters reached Souda on Monday and will relocate to the Italian base of Sigonella in Italy, the Greek general staff source said.

Two more bases, Aktion in the western mainland and Andravida in the Peloponnese, have been made available to coalition forces by Greece.

© 2011 AFP

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