Omantribune
Oman Tribune
Omantribune
Omantribune Search News
Web Oman
    Google Search Button
      Tribune
- Oman
- Soccer World Cup
- Other Top Stories
- Middle East
- Business
- Sports
- India
- Pakistan
- Asia
- Europe
- Americas
- Columnists
- Editorial
- Oman Mirror
- Special Features
- Cinema
- PDF Pages
- Weather
- Travel
- Currency Rate
- Hospitals
- Pharmacies
- Services
- Flight Timings
- Museum Timings
Omantribune Home Omantribune About Us Omantribune Advertising Information Omantribune Archives Omantribune Subscribe-Form Omantribune Jobs Omantribune Contact Us
Thursday, September 18, 2014  

Barrage of air strikes rock military bases
TRIPOLI Huge explosions shook a military site in an eastern suburb of Libya’s capital early on Saturday as western forces piled pressure on Muammar Gaddafi with a barrage of air strikes.

The blasts, on the eighth day of a western bombing campaign to halt attacks by Gaddafi’s forces on civilians, left a radar facility in flames in Tajura, home to several military bases, a witness said.

“The district was shaken by three explosions in succession,” the resident said, adding that the explosions had shattered windows.

“The raid targeted a military radar site which is still on fire,” the resident, who lives close by, added.

US officials said the relentless pressure on Gaddafi and his allies was beginning to take its toll, and that the veteran Libyan leader was arming volunteers.

“We’ve received reports that he has taken to arming what he calls volunteers to fight the opposition,” said US Vice Admiral William Gortney.

Until now, Gaddafi is believed to have relied on militias run by his sons as well as African mercenaries to fight poorly-armed but determined opposition forces.

Gaddafi “has virtually no air defence left to him and a diminishing ability to command and sustain his forces on the ground”, said Gortney.

“His air force cannot fly, his warships are staying in port, his ammunitions stores are being destroyed, communications towers are being toppled, his command bunkers rendered useless,” Gortney said.

Western forces also pounded several key cities and towns overnight, including Ajdabiyah, where government loyalists have dug in and been accused by residents of brutalising the population.

“We entered the town,” Col. Mohammed Ehsayer, who defected from the army to join the rebellion against Gaddafi, said at a rebel outpost.

“Soon the eastern and western gates will fall,” he said referring to positions still in loyalist hands, with the uprising now in its fifth week.

“There is no water, no electricity and supplies are running short,” in Misrata, Libya’s third city, he said, adding residents were cowering indoors.

US warships and submarines had fired 16 new Tomahawk cruise missiles at Libyan targets, the Pentagon said, adding that coalition warplanes carried out 153 sorties over the same period.

The total number of Tomahawks launched at Libya rose to at least 170.

Libyan state television reported coalition warplanes also carried out raids late on Friday on the coastal town of Zliten, 160km east of Tripoli.

Qatar became the first Arab nation to take part in the military campaign, its air force and the French military announced.

Two Mirage fighter planes from Qatar carried out “air interdiction mission” alongside two French jets, the French military said on its website.

The Libyan leader appears to be showing signs of desperation as his government puts out feelers to mediators while trying to recruit volunteers to crush a rebellion, US officials said.

His government so far has withstood seven days of UN-mandated air and missile strikes that have shattered his air defences, disrupted communications and struck Libyan ground forces threatening the strategic eastern town of Ajdabiya.

Although the military action is aimed at protecting civilians from attack, the Obama administration says the strikes are putting pressure on the government and acknowledges its political aim is Gaddafi’s departure.

And US officials say there are signs the regime is feeling the heat. At least 114 people have been killed and 445 wounded in four days of coalition strikes on Libya, a health ministry official said.

“From March 20 to March 23, raids by the coalition killed 114 people and wounded 445 others,” the official, Khaled Omar, told a news conference in the Libyan capital.

An AU ad hoc committee on Libya met in Addis Ababa on Friday for consultations on the roadmap and “interacted” with a delegation from the government of the Libyan leader, but the opposition national council (NTC) was “unable” to attend, a statement said.

“The committee reiterates its willingness to take steps to engage the NTC on the basis of the AU roadmap, with particular and urgent focus on the cessation of hostilities,” it said.

The AU roadmap calls for an immediate end to hostilities, “cooperation by the relevant Libyan authorities to facilitate humanitarian aid,” and “protection for all foreign nationals, including African migrant workers.”

Italy has said it will present its own plan for Libya at a meeting in London on Tuesday of foreign ministers from the coalition taking military action against the Libyan rule and from regional countries.

Sarkozy “has said he has ideas. Since we too have ideas, we will present our plan of action in London,” Foreign Minister Franco Frattini said in an interview with Quotidiano Nazionale published on Saturday.

Frattini also said that he had received assurances from the head of the Libyan opposition’s interim national council Mahmoud Jibril that any future government of Libya would respect current trade ties with Italy.

US President Barack Obama marked Greek independence day on Friday by thanking the Athens government for its solidarity as a Nato ally and said Athens was playing a critical role in the Libya operation.

Russia’s envoy to Nato said that any ground operation in Libya would be tantamount to an occupation, stressing that the military campaign must stick to the Security Council resolution.

“Holding a ground operation will be qualified as an occupation of Libya and this directly contravenes the resolution passed by the Security Council,” Nato envoy Dmitry Rogozin told the RIA Novosti news agency in Brussels.

Russia’s top general called the air strikes in Libya unsuccessful and gave his opinion that a ground operation would likely be needed to topple Gaddafi.

“Air strikes as I see it have not given them results,” the chief of staff of Russia’s armed forces, General Nikolai Makarov told the Interfax news agency in Moscow.

“If their aim was to topple the government of Gaddafi, then probably they will not manage without a ground phase,” he was quoted as saying. “I would not rule it out.”

A ferry with ambulances and medical equipment on board will sail soon to the North African country to bring to Turkey about 450 wounded people, deputy prime minister Cemil Cicek told Hurriyet newspaper.

Asked whether the operation had the blessing of Gaddafi’s government, Cicek said: “Yes, Turkey is the only country to maintain contact with both sides. We will bring the wounded. There is a deal on that.”

Al Qaeda’s offshoot in North Africa has snatched surface-to-air missiles from an arsenal in Libya during the civil strife there, Chad’s president said in an interview to be published on Monday.

Idriss Deby Itno did not say how many surface-to-air missiles were stolen, but told the African weekly Jeune Afrique that he was “100 per cent sure” of his assertion.

Agencies
NEWS UPDATES
Oman
Sezad-Pasmed MoU to boost SME ventures
Sharakah inks deal with 4 firms to help 30 SMEs, 300 entrepreneurs
SQU takes part in Prague EAIE Conference
Omani-Brunei committee discusses investments
New ROP offices in South Batinah
Health ministry holds meeting on Ebola
Two-day forum on management systems begins
Rohm musical treat to offer families a feel of opera fun
Ministry holds meeting on Omanet portal
Other Top Stories
Iran’s uranium enrichment not acceptable: US
Obama calls global action to fight Ebola
20 die as Houthis, army clash
Scots could narrowly reject independence
Ukraine PM tells army to be on full battle alert
India
AG asked to look into selection method of CVC
Modi, Xi bond on Sabarmati riverfront, main talks today
Modi bats for schemes to make poor self-reliant
Country on brink of urban revolution, says UN-backed report
Kerala hikes water tariff, tobacco tax
Praise of Modi government based on facts, says Pranab
Minority status likely for Kashmiri Hindus
BJP chief undeterred over reverses in byelections
Sena refuses to accept BJP’s seat demand
Asom ex-DGP tainted in Saradha chit scam ends life
90pc of Kerala diaspora are in Middle East, says study
Pakistan
Sharif threatens to clear protesters camped in capital
Flood victims loot aid after CM delays visit
Karachi naval base raid was ‘first assault’ by new S. Asia wing of Al Qaeda
Anti-graft agency seeks Karachi land scam probe
400-year-old tombs in Sindh to get facelift
Middle East
Militia launches new assault on Benghazi airport, 9 killed
Turkey stance may hurt US coalition plan
Egypt to buy Russian arms in deal worth $3.5b
Russia, West lock horns over Syria at IAEA meet
2 get death in S. Arabia over Al Qaeda links
Ailing Iraqi refugees struggle without life-saving drugs
Asia
Court commutes death sentence of Bangla preacher
China to try prominent Uighur scholar on separatism charges
Thousands forced to flee as Mayon set to erupt
China mum on status of diplomat in Japan spying row
Woman ‘who lost’ virginity gets $5,000 in damages
‘Modern slavery’ rampant in Malaysia
Business
Gulf banks well placed to meet Basel III norms
19.69m rials allotted to Sohar Industrial Estate
Larger-screen iPhones receive thumbs-up from reviewers
Global billionaire club grows 7% to 2,325
Cairn discovers 3 new oilfields in Rajasthan
Xi sees China manufacturing base, India back office as growth engine
IndiGo to borrow $2.6b from ICBC to buy aircraft
EPFO chief seeks nod to invest in stocks to raise returns
Emirates to boost India business organically
Etihad shuns global airline alliances
China pumps $81.35b into top five banks
Sony sees $2.14b loss, blames mobile unit
Economic uncertainties ‘affect Asia business sentiment in Q3’
France is sick, says economy minister
UK watchdog overhauls firms’ governance code
Credit Suisse under Fed scrutiny
Europe
Clock ticks on Scottish vote
France to limit Iraq, Syria trips over terror fears
Cardinals derail pope bid to ease church’s tough stance on remarriage
9 imams among 15 held on terror links in Kosovo
Frenchwoman pays taxes with 30kg of small change
Another Russian tycoon in fix over financial fraud
Sports
Benn, Taylor sew it up for Windies
Oman let Singapore off hook to end in 3-3 draw
Let the best stay but get rid of mediocre foreigners: FA chief
Mixed luck for Liverpool and Arsenal
World’s top coaches no to idea of 2018 WC boycott
Al Hilal rout Al Ain as Wanderers hold Seoul
Incheon set for spectacular opening
Iranian kicked out over sexual harassment
Thai princess eyes gold with Prince Charming
Hosts out to end Thailand’s reign in sepaktakraw
Indonesia poised to be selected ’18 Games host
Russell, Doeschate seal Kolkata win
Americas
American indicted for backing IS, attempting to murder troops
Odile leaves trail of destruction in Mexican resorts
Argentina summons US envoy over ‘default’ slur
Rousseff, Silva in neck-and-neck fight, show polls
Firefighters battle to contain California blaze
Texans take ideas from Scottish poll

Sports


International

© 2013 Oman Tribune. All rights reserved. Best viewed in 800 X 600 resolution