NATO operations against Libya's Gaddafi

Following are latest available details of Western military operations in Libya.

* The following NATO countries are participating in the alliance's operation UNIFIED PROTECTOR: Belgium, Britain, Bulgaria, Canada, Denmark, France, Greece, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Qatar, Romania, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, United States.

* NATO forces have a total of about 195 aircraft at their disposal.

* Since NATO took command of Western military operations in Libya on March 31, its aircraft have made 1,434 sorties, including 587 intended as strike missions. On April 8, it conducted 156 sorties and 60 strike missions. Not all strike sorties have led to targets being hit.

* Eighteen vessels are patrolling the Mediterranean to enforce a U.N.-mandated arms embargo. Twenty-two vessels were stopped by NATO forces on April 8 to determine what they were carrying and their destination; no boardings were conducted.

Nearly 170 vessels have been halted and six boardings conducted since the beginning of arms embargo operations.

* NATO said its forces destroyed 17 tanks belonging to Gaddafi's forces on Friday and early Saturday -- 15 near the western city of Misrata, and two south of Brega.

* NATO's commander of Libyan operations said the alliance had destroyed "a significant percentage" of Gaddafi's armoured forces in the past 24 hours.

* Targets also included ammunition stockpiles east of the capital, Tripoli.

* A NATO official said the alliance had intercepted a MIG 23 aircraft near Benghazi on Saturday, flown by a rebel pilot, and advised him to land.

* Britain's defence ministry spokesman said British aircraft hit seven main battle tanks on April 8. The Tornado GR4 aircraft used Brimstone missiles and Paveway IV bombs around Ajdabiyah, hitting two tanks, and around Misrata, hitting five tanks.

* British Typhoon aircraft conducted defensive counter air patrols as part of the no-fly zone enforcement, and two VC10 tanker aircraft provided air-to-air refuelling.

* HMS Liverpool has taken over from HMS Cumberland, undertaking surveillance and embargo operations alongside HMS Brockelsby. HMS Cumberland will return to the UK.

* NATO air strikes hit weapons depots near Zintan, south of Tripoli, on Friday, a resident said.

* British Rear Admiral Russell Harding, deputy commander of NATO operations in Libya, said on Friday 23 targets had been struck in the previous 48 hours.

* Targets hit since the start of NATO operations include T-72 tanks, armoured personnel carriers, rocket launchers, surface-to-air missiles and ammunition dumps near Misrata, Ras Lanuf and Brega, he said.

[Source: Reuters, Brussels, 09Apr11]

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