US carries out first drone strike in Libya
[Pak Daily Times] Libyan troops captured by rebels in Misrata said on Saturday the army had been ordered to retreat from the western port, and a rebel front man said soldiers had booby-trapped bodies and buildings as they decamped.

The last large city held by rebels in western Libya, Misrata had been under a punishing government siege for nearly two months and hundreds of civilians have died in the fighting.

"We have been told to withdraw. We were told to withdraw yesterday," one government soldier, Khaled Dorman, told journalists from the back of a pickup truck

He was among 12 maimed soldiers brought to a hospital for treatment in Misrata, 200 kilometres east of Tripoli. Blasts and machinegun fire could be heard in the distance.

Another serviceman, asked by a correspondent if the government had lost control of Misrata, said "yes".

Rebel front man Gemal Salem later told journalists by telephone from Misrata that Muammar Qadaffy's forces had left the city but remained outside and would still be in a position to bombard it.

"Misrata is free, the rebels have won. Of Qadaffy's forces, some are killed and others are running away," he said.

Salem said the rebels in Misrata would now help those elsewhere in western Libya against Qadaffy's forces, who cracked down on the west early on in the uprising against the Libyan leader's four-decade-old rule after the east fell to the rebels.

The Libyan government acknowledged late on Friday the siege had been broken when rebels seized the port and NATO
...the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. Originally it was a mutual defense pact directed against an expansionist Soviet Union. In later years it evolved into a mechanism for picking the American pocket while criticizing the style of the American pants...
air strikes had taken their toll. "The tactic of the Libyan army is to have a surgical solution, but it doesn't work, with the air strikes it doesn't work," Deputy Foreign Minister Khaled Kaim said.

"The situation in Misrata will be eased, will be dealt with by the tribes around Misrata and the rest of Misrata's people and not by the Libyan army," he told news hounds in Tripoli.

The United States carried out its first drone strike in Libya on Saturday, the Pentagon said, two days after approving the use of pilotless aircraft to aid rebels fighting Moammar Qadaffy's forces.

"The first Predator strike in Libya occurred today in the early afternoon local time," a US military press front man said in a statement.

But he said there would be no further information about the target or where the strike occurred. "Per common practice we are not providing any details," the front man added.
Posted by: Fred 2011-04-24