This post is being constantly updated
All times are in Libyan local time GMT +2
01:25 Reuters Muammar Gaddafi’s air defenses have been ‘severely disabled’ by a barrage of U.S.-led missile strikes launched on Saturday, a U.S. national security official said.
“Qaddafi’s air defense systems have been severely disabled. It’s too soon to predict what he and his ground forces may do in response to today’s strikes,” the source said on condition of anonymity.
01:15 @ShababLibya tweets: ALL, yes ALL Gaddafi forces in ZINTAN have joined the #Feb17 revolution, Zintan now fully armed and ready. (They add that news from Zintan comes via confirmed source to #Almanara, the most trusted source throughout the revolution)
01:07 AFP The Libyan government has demanded an urgent meeting of the UN Security Council, the AFP news agency reports.
01:00 @MilesDoranCBS has posted a video of a Tomahawk Cruise Missle being launched from a USS Barry:
00:51 Al Jazeera Earlier today, as international air strikes became imminent, supporters of Muammar Gaddafi gathered at several locations to act as human shields. Aisha Gaddafi, his daughter, is seen here outside the Bab al-Aziziyah palace, Gaddafi’s residence in Tripoli. Click on the image for a larger size:
00:30 Reuters NATO-member Turkey will make the necessary and appropriate national contribution to implementing a U.N. no-fly zone over Libya and measures to protect civilians, its foreign ministry said late on Saturday. Read more here
00:31 Al Jazeera Four Al Jazeera journalists have been detained by Libyan authorities in the west of the country.
Lotfi al-Messaoudi (a Tunisian), Ahmed Vall Ould Addin (a Mauritanian), Ammar al-Hamdan (a Norwegian cameraman) and Kamel Atalua (British) were held while working in the west of the country.
Al Jazeera says that the Libyan authorities will be held accountable for the safety, security and well-being of the team, who are being held in Tripoli.
00:17 BBC An un-named French official tells the AFP news agency that the United Arab Emirates has pledged 24 aircraft to the coalition and Qatar between four and six.
00:01 Libyans Revolt tweets: “Just speaking to friends in Tripoli: its a total ghost down and completely locked down – nobody outside. They can hear bombs.”
23:49 BBC In a statement, Col Gaddafi calls for Libyans to arm for “revolution”. He adds that the Mediterranean has become a “ground of war” and says that Libya will confront the “colonial crusader” and said that “This aggression only makes the Libyan people more stronger, and consolidates its will.” He says he will “open the arms depots to defend Libya, it’s unity and sovereignty and might”.
23:38 AFP Operation Odyssey Dawn: A French official tells the AFP news agency that air strikes by Britain, France and the United States are being co-ordinated at a US headquarters in Germany.
23:33 @iyad_elbaghdadi OK, Alqaeda-Crusader-Rats-Dogs-Hallucinogenic conspiracy
23:15 Pentagon In a briefing, a spokesman for the Pentagon said that today’s mission was to shape the battlespace for coalition parties. Most targets struck were on or near the cost, and disabling them was vital to enforcement of a no-fly zone. The strikes were carefully coordinated with the coalition, as the sites posed a direct threat to both the pilots who will enforce the no-fly zone and the people of libya.
The spokesman said it will be some time longer before they have a complete picture of the success of this phase. He reiterated that they anticipate the transfer of command to a coalition commander in the coming days.
23:13 Al Jazeera Arabic Correspondent has reported that Miteega Military Airbase in east Tripoli has been subjected to air strikes
23:05 BBC reports that four Spanish F-18 fighters have taken off from Madrid as part of the UN coalition.
22:46 AFP reports that Libyan state television reports that a French aircraft has been shot down over Libya. There is no independent confirmation of this claim yet.
23:03 Transcript of Libyan Government Press Conference:
An attack with rockets has been launched on Libya that caused some real harm against civilians and buildingsThis barbaric aggression against the Libyan people comes while we have announced the ceasefire against the armed militias which are part of Al Qaeda in the Islamic West
The attack comes as Libya has announced general and major developments and reforms in the organisational contexts. The claim that this aggression is for the protection of civilians is contradicted by what has really happened tonight. The big number of civilians who have been injured by this aggression tonight has filled the hospitals, and ambulances are doing their best to save as many civilian lives as posible.
This aggression is barbaric that has no excuse since Libya has already accepeted the resolution of the security council and the armed forces announced a ceasefire and military operations against armed militas. Furthermore Libya has requested the presence of International observers on the ground to judge whether we had indeed kept to our word concerning ceasefire. And instead of sending fact finding mission, some countries and UN elected for aggression against Libya
This aggression will not weaken our spirit and will not convince Libyans to give up to the armed militais and to give up to Al Qaeda in the western Arabia. And what you have seen of the masses of people gathering to protect the leader, revolution and the country is the proof that the Libyan people will not be defeated
22:27 Pentagon In a statement, the Pentagon has said 110 Tomahawk missiles were used to target key communication nodes in Libya. They are creating the conditions to establish the no-fly zone properly. Right now the US has no planes enforcing the no-fly zone yet. The Pentagon has said US aircraft will be involved in refueling other aircraft. The US revealed 25 coalition ships, including 3 submarines, are stationed in the Mediterranean.
The Tomahawks were launched after the French operations, they had a flight time of roughly 1 hour. There were over 20 targets. The US is currently at the forefront of the attacks, but it is a coalition led operation and command will be transfered to the coalition.
It is the first phase of a multi-phase operation. They said it would take some 6-12 hours for this first phase to be completed, including an assessment of whether Gaddafi’s air defenses are sufficiently disabled. The operation has been named Oddysey Dawn.
22:20 BBC reported that three US submarines in the Mediterranean took part in the operations.
22:10 Reuters Thousands of Libyans packed into Muammar Gaddafi’s heavily fortified Tripoli compound on Saturday to form a human shield against possible air strikes by allied forces.
Libyans from all walks of life streamed into the Bab Al-Aziziyah compound, shouting slogans and holding portraits of Gaddafi. Loudspeakers boomed songs praising the leader.
22:10 Reuters British forces are in action over Libya as part of international efforts to prevent Muammar Gaddafi from attacking his own people, Prime Minister David Cameron said on Saturday.
“Tonight, British forces are in action over Libya,” he said.
22:10 Reuters A five-country coalition including the United States, France, Britain, Canada and Italy is launching strikes on Libya designed to cripple Muammar Gaddafi’s air defenses, the Pentagon said on Saturday.
The air strikes will mainly target air defenses around the Libyan cities of Tripoli and Misrata, the official told reporters on condition of anonymity, in a joint operation called “Odyssey Dawn.”
21:49 CNN The US has launched its first Tomahawk Cruise missle into Libya targeting air defence systems
20:30 Al Jazeera UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has said that he found Libya’s response via telephone regarding a UN resolution to be “troubling”. He said that Gaddafi claims that the conflict had halted and that the lack of confidence in the government was so great that he no longer trusts what Libyan leaders are saying.
20:25 Libyan Youth Movement report now that it appears Gaddafi forces have fallen into an ambush and the freedom fighters have seized many vehicles.
20:07 Libyan Youth Movement report that Misrata is under heavy shelling. The same is happening in Zintan as Gaddafi’s forces reportedly try to get their troops into the city.
20:00 The International Committee of the Red Cross issued a statement saying that international law prohibits warring parties from targeting civilians and using human shields. They also called on all sides in the conflict to allow medical staff safe access to the injured.
19:41 Al Jazeera quotes sources saying French War planes have destroyed 4 tanks south west of Benghazi
19:22 BBC Richard Colebourn says foreign journalists in Tripoli have been taken to visit Colonel Gaddafi’s military base and compound in the city. A few thousand supporters outside the base at Bab al-Azizia were chanting slogans in support of their leader. They said they were prepared to die if the compound was targeted in any air strikes. Libyan state TV is showing pictures of other supporters doing the same at Tripoli airport.
19:17 The Guardian‘s correspondent in Rome has said that “Spanish and Belgium fighter aircraft are due to arrive in Italy before taking part in operations over Libya, a source in Italy said on Saturday. Spain would likely send F-18 aircraft, Belgium F-16s.
Witnesses reported that five American F-18s, two C-17s and a C-130 cargo plane had landed at the Aviano air base in northern Italy which used by the US military.
The Italian air force has dispatched Tornado and Eurofighter aircraft to its Trapani air base in western Sicily in readiness, although Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi said on Saturday that Italy was supplying bases only for now.”
18:59 BBC BREAKING NEWS The French Defence Ministry has announced that a French fighter jet has fired its first shot at a military vehicle at 16:45 GMT. The French Defence Ministry has also stated that 20 fighter jets are currently involved in operations to enforce the no-fly zone. France will send an aircraft carrier to Libya, the French defence ministry has told AFP.
18:15 The Guardian Six Danish F-16s have arrived at the US air base at Sigonella, Sicily on Saturday and will be ready for operation Sunday. Canada has committed six CF-18 jets,and Canadian aircraft landed at the Prestwick Airport south-west of Glasgow, Scotland to refuel.
17:28 The Libyan Youth Movement say they have more confirmation that people are being kidnapped across Libya, particularly in places such as Zwara and other areas in order to be used as human shields. Earlier on Al Jazeera, an opposition leader said he was expecting Gaddafi to use human shields in the event of military strikes.
Iyad El-Baghdadi adds: “Gaddafi the bastard never allowed Libyans into his complex. Now the place is crawling with them including children. Human shields. He wants collateral damage. He wants boots on the ground.”
16:52 Sarkozy has said in a statement that French aircraft are enforcing the no-fly zone right now. He said the United Nations gave Gaddafi a strong warning that was endorsed by their partners. Gaddafi, he said, has since stepped up the offensive. Today they are intervening, Sarkozy said, under the UN mandate to protect innocent civilians from Gaddafi’s “murderous madness”. He reiterated that the goal of the intervention was for the Libyan people to choose their own destiny.
He further added that Gaddafi can still avoid the worst if he complies right now with all the demands made in the resolution. The doors of diplomacy will open once more when all the aggression has stopped. He finished by saying that this intervention was a grave decision, but that France is ready to shoulder its role before history
16:40 Al Jazeera English French journalists reported that French fighter jets will begin their strike operations by targetting pro-Gaddafi tanks around Benghazi in order to send a message that they are breaking the siege.
16:37 BBC President Sarkozy is due to make a statement on Libya “shortly” as the meeting in Paris with world leaders wraps up.
14:15 French news source BFM and AFP are reporting that French Rafale jets are flying over Benghazi to enforce the no-fly zone, according to a military source. Martin Chulov adds that part of the delay was in telling the opposition not to shoot. A French military source has said that Libya was photographed last night to identify targets.
15:52 BBC US military planes land at Prestwick Airport in Ayrshire to refuel, an airport spokesman says.
15:49 Al Jazeera Arabic Major General AbdulFatah Younis has just confirmed by telephone live on the channel that he is still with the revolution and that Libyan State TV is lying.
15:33 The first video that surfaced from Mohammed Nabbous. Recorded on 19th February 2011 during the first attacks on Benghazi. May God admit you to heaven Mohammed, reward you abundantly and give your wife and family patience and steadfastness. Ameen
15:19 BREAKING BREAKING: Mohammed Al Nabbous founder of Libya Alhurra TV on livestream has passed away. May God accept him from amongst the martyrs and give his family patience and steadfastness. Ameen
15:09 Libya Alhurra BREAKING: Libya Alhurra TV is reporting that its founder Mohammed Al Nabbous is critically injured. This is devastating as we were watching and Mo this morning and tweeting his news. We ask God to heal him and ease his tribulation. Ameen
15:08 Al Jazeera Arabic 26 fatalities and more than 40 injuries in Benghazi’s Al Jala hospital.
15:04 Sky News video of fighter jet being shot down
14:32 Reuters is reporting a source which says the first wave of military action against Libya involving the international community could start as soon as the Paris meeting ends. Earlier it was said the meeting is expected to end at 14:00 GMT. The first air strikes against Libya will be French, British and Canadian, Al Arabiya quotes a French official
14:20 BBC Two RAF Tornado aircraft have landed at RAF Marham in Norfolk. They are believed to have come from RAF Lossiemouth in Scotland.
14:00 Al Arabiya reports that Libyans are gathering in locations that France is expected to hit (Via Sultan Al Qassemi).
Iyad El Baghdadi says that Gaddafi is herding people towards military targets to use them as human shields. Says they “love him”.
Reuters reports crowds of Libyans are converging in the expected targets, from state run Jana news agency.
14:00 Al Jazeera shows images of tanks driving through the streets of Benghazi waving the flag of the revolution after Gaddafi forces pulled back. An Al Jazeera reported in Tripoli earlier also mentioned that the cease fire was never announced on national tv or inside Libya at all. It appears it was only intended for international media and governments.
13:50 Al Manara reports that a group of Gaddafi forces are now trapped inside a Foreign company. They’re in the process of surrendering after their ammunition finished.
13:49 Al Jazeera‘s Tony Birtley reports that western and eastern parts of Benghazi were under attack by tanks. Gaddafi’s forces appear to have pulled back however there is still some firing happening. Great similarities between here and Bosnia in the early days of that conflict, he says.
13:27 BBC Two RAF Tornados have been seen taking off from RAF Lossiemouth in Scotland. It is impossible to say where they are headed but they are equipped with long-range fuel tanks.
13:05 Reuters reports that Misrata has been under attack with heavy shelling this morning and water supplies are still cut off. Right now, the resident says the situation is fairly calm, but Gaddafi’s forces are still on the outskirts. Read here.
12:45 Iyad El-Baghdadi has confirmed news that Gaddafi “sleeper cells” (people from his revolutionary committees) in Benghazi are involved in today’s violence.
12:44 Reuters U.S.’s Clinton, UK’s Cameron, France’s Sarkozy to meet around 1130 GMT ahead of wider Paris Libya meeting. The BBC yesterday mentioned that jets could be active over Libya before the meeting, however.
12:32 Al Arabiya reports that there are strikes on the military college in Gwarsha, which is in the Western outskirts of Benghazi.
12:30 ShababLibya tweets that Gaddafi forces enter the sports city, Fwayhat, Tabalino and Gar Younis ares of Benghazi, last 3 are all residential areas.
12:25 Al Manara reports that twelve Pro Gaddafi forces were killed in the city of Benghazi.
11:57 BBC A spokesman for the TNC says there has been a bombardment in Zintan, five shells have fallen on the outskirts.
11:50 ShababLibya tweets: Tanks enter the city of Benghazi now at Tabalino (next area after gar younis) further into the city.
11:40 BrianBaghdad, who is in Benghazi with a BBC team reports: People in the streets here are saying #Gadaffi is at Garyounis University.
11:26 Al Jazeera Abdul Jalil also tells us that Benghazi hospitals are now being flooded with victims. He says that the pro-democracy fighters do not have enough weapons and numbers to confront Gaddafi
11:11 Al Jazeera Mustafa Abdul Jalil, the head of the Libyan Interim Council, tells Al Jazeera that residential areas in Benghazi are under attack by artillery and tanks. He also said that the plane shot down belongs to the rebels.
10:04 Al Jazeera Artillery shells being shot into Benghazi from about 20km away, Al Jazeera’s Tony Birtely reports.
8:51 Al Jazeera‘s reporter in Benghazi says some shelling happening now, with a jet just crossing over the town. Reports of some people being injured in the bombing, possibly some deaths.
08:19 AFP A plane bombed an area south-west of Libya’s rebel stronghold of Benghazi early Saturday and two columns of smoke were seen rising from the targeted zone, AFP journalists reported.
08:03 @Tribulusterr has labelled two maps outlining the key areas in the Bengazhi vicinity as well as in central Benghazi. We hope they help you put in visualising what is happening where better. Please click the images for a full size view:
07:51 Libya Alhurra TV has kept us gripped over the past couple of hours streaming live from Benghazi as events unfolded this morning. The city woke up to homes in central Benghazi shaking due to explosions and the sound of bombs making impact. The explosions started to increase in frequency and loudness. After a scout around the city, it was clear that people were at a state of confusion as to what was happening and where the explosives were being fired from. A group of revolutionaries at one checkpoint did however point towards the direction of Suluq confirming that an explosive was came from that direction.
Till now the situation remains unclear as to whether the explosions will continue or if this is the end. We will seek to confirm and relay the information to you as soon as we verify it.
05:51 BREAKING Libya Alhurra TV is reporting that the explosions are now more frequent, getting louder and coming closer.
05:30 BREAKING Libya Alhurra TV station has just reported that loud explosions have been heard from Benghazi. The situation is unclear at the moment, but the explosions were clearly audible. Six explosions were heard followed by 2. This is reported directly from Libya Alhurra TV which you can watch live here
04:38 A beautiful short documentary highlighting the key historical events that occurred in Libya between 1912 and 1969. This got me quite emotional as I saw a budding young Libya in its early spring, blossoming and reaching out to the world, and then suddenly it was cloaked in darkness…
03:38 BBC Preparations are underway for a joint operation to enforce a UN-backed no-fly zone over Libya. Here we look at the British fighter jets and reconnaissance aircraft likely to be involved
- Crew: 1
- Speed: 2 Mach
- Weapons: Air-to-air missiles (AMRAAM, ASRAAM),Brimstone, Enhanced Paveway, Paveway IV
The RAF’s Typhoon, or Eurofighter, is an agile aircraft which could be used in air-to-air combat if the Libyan airforce tries to get airborne. It boasts stealth technology and weapons systems include medium and short range air-to-air missiles and various air-to-ground weapons.
- Crew: 2
- Speed: 1.3 Mach
- Weapons: Storm Shadow, Brimstone, ALARM, AIM-9 Sidewinder, Paveway II, Paveway III, Enhanced Paveway, General Purpose Bombs, Mauser 27mm cannon
The Tornado is mainly used as a strike or attack aircraft and could have a key role in taking out Libyan Surface-to-Air Missile systems.
Weapons such as the Storm Shadow cruise missile mean that the Tornado can hit targets from a significant distance. The MOD describes the missile as being designed for “long range, highly accurate, deep penetration” against enemy command and control bunkers.
- Crew: 29
- Speed: 360 knots
Nimrod R1 reconnaissance aircraft, derivative of the maritime patrol version, are expected to be involved in surveillance operations.
The suite of monitoring systems are used for reconnaissance and gathering electronic intelligence. It can sit over an area, flying at low speeds for long periods – which can be extended by mid-air refuelling.
- Crew: 5
- Speed: 0.89 Mach
- Systems: Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) and Ground Moving Target Indicator (GMTI)
The Sentinel R1 aircraft, used in intelligence operations in Afghanistan, is also expected to be used in any Libya mission. It is part of the Sentinel system which is made up of air, land and support segments.
The aircraft are converted Bombardier Global Express aircraft which are fitted with radar and monitoring systems which can be used to track and target enemy ground forces.
02:45 CNN Obama was one of several world leaders to clarify their military intentions and limitations on Friday:
- The United States “will provide the unique capabilities that we can bring to bear … including enabling our European allies and Arab partners to effectively enforce a no-fly zone,” Obama said.
- French government spokesman Francois Baroin said France plans to participate in “swift” efforts against the Gadhafi regime.
- British Prime Minister David Cameron said the United Kingdom has started preparations to deploy aircraft, and “in the coming hours” they will move to air bases where they will be positioned for any “necessary action.”
- Canada has committed six CF-18s and has deployed a frigate to help impose the no-fly zone over Libya
- Spain will offer NATO the use of two military bases and provide air and naval forces for use in operations involving Libya, Spanish Defense Minister Carme Chacon said Friday in Madrid.
- Germany, which abstained from Thursday’s U.N. Security Council vote, decided that its country’s troops will not be used in any military action
- Norway “must determine what resources NATO needs … and what (my country) can contribute,” Norwegian Defence Minister Grete Faremo said.
- In Italy, the country’s defense minister, Ignazio La Russa, said his government will ask the Italian parliament for permission to deploy military personnel and aircraft.
- Denmark and Belgium agreed to commit F-16 fighter jets, according to Reuters and AFP.
- Malta confirmed that it will not allow its territory to be used to enforce a no-fly zone
02:36 Sky News Colonel Muammar Gaddafi’s Libyan air force appears to be no match for the international forces heading for the region.
The International Institute for Strategic Studies estimated, despite a nominal strength of some 200 fixed wing aircraft, fewer than 40 are actually capable of flying. Most are old Russian-built types dating back to the Soviet era and are obsolescent in Western terms – although Col Gaddafi does have a small number of more modern French Mirage F1s. Read the article here
02:32 CNN Germany on Saturday dismissed a Libyan invitation to send observers to monitor a ceasefire between government forces and rebels, saying that only the United Nations should carry out the task.
A German Foreign Ministry spokeswoman said: “It’s the job of the U.N. and nobody else to observe the ceasefire or to decide how it should be observed.”
02:14 Nato Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen gives a strong message to stop violence