British jets destroy tanks, missile site in Libya: MoD

31st March 2011, Comments 0 comments

British warplanes have bombed Libyan tanks, armoured vehicles and a surface-to-air missile site around Misrata, where rebels were pounded by Moamer Kadhafi's forces, officials said Thursday.

RAF Tornado aircraft flying from the Italian base of Gioia del Colle carried out the strikes Wednesday around the rebel-held city as part of a multinational operation to protect civilians, the Ministry of Defence announced.

"In the course of these patrols the aircraft launched Paveway IV and Brimstone missiles against military assets of pro-Kadhafi forces in the Misrata area," the ministry said in a statement.

"These missiles hit three main battle tanks, two armoured fighting vehicles and a surface-to-air missile site."

The Tornados were supported by VC10 tanker aircraft, as well as Nimrod R1, Sentinel and E3-D reconnaissance aircraft flying from bases at Akrotiri in Cyprus and Trapani on Sicily.

A Lynx helicopter from the frigate HMS Cumberland, which is patrolling the waters off Libya, also made a number of search missions over land Wednesday to enforce a UN arms embargo against the country, the ministry said.

Air strikes by British, US and French aircraft have targeted pro-Kadhafi forces to enforce UN Security Council Resolution 1973 which allows civilians to be protected from attack.

Rebel fighters called for more air strikes after they were forced into a chaotic retreat on Wednesday.

Forces loyal to Kadhafi blasted Misrata on Wednesday after 18 people were killed in fighting the previous day, rebels and a medic told AFP.

© 2011 AFP

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