British Typhoons fly first combat action over Libya

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British Typhoon fighter jets on Monday took part in their first ever combat mission as they assisted coalition forces in enforcing a UN-sanctioned no-fly zone over Libya.

"Today, Typhoons flew their first ever combat mission while patrolling the no-fly zone in support of UNSCR 1973," Britain's Chief of Defence Staff's spokesman, Major General John Lorimer, said in a statement.

"UK aircraft are helping to patrol the no-fly zone alongside our international allies," he added.

The Typhoons' deployment came on the third day of strategic strikes against Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi's defences.

"Coalition forces' action has, over the weekend, stopped Col Kadhafi's forces from seizing control of Benghazi," the general said.

British submarines and Tornado jets were used during the first two days of attacks, and Lorimer confirmed that more Tornadoes had arrived at their new Italian base at Gioia del Colle from Marham air base in east England.

Prime Minister David Cameron said earlier Monday there was no legal authority for regime change in Libya despite suggestions by ministers that air strikes could target Kadhafi himself.

After Kadhafi's complex in Tripoli was hit overnight in raids by Western forces, Cameron said the UN Security Council resolution was limited to include the enforcement of a ceasefire and no-fly zones to protect civilians.

© 2011 AFP

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