France destroyed a dozen Libyan armoured vehicles: minister

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Defence Minister Gerard Longuet said French air strikes had destroyed a dozen Libyan armoured vehicles in three days, in an interview to be published Thursday.

"The air exclusion zone has become a reality," Longuet said in the interview with Le Figaro newspaper. "But Resolution 1973 also stipulates that the coalition has all means at its disposal to protect the civilian population."

Coalition forces -- led by the United States, France and Britain and including other European states along with Qatar -- have launched air strikes in Libya since Saturday, acting under the UN resolution authorising "all necessary means" to protect civilians in Libya.

Longuet said that the real threat to the population "today are the tanks, the artillery.

"The French side has taken out a dozen armoured vehicles in three days," he said. "This is decisive as we have practically not seen any tank concentrations since the strikes."

© 2011 AFP

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