US Fires Its First Shots Against Gadhafi

US launches missiles; French jet takes out tank
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 19, 2011 2:14 PM CDT
Updated Mar 19, 2011 4:54 PM CDT
Libyan rebels celebrate on a captured tank in the outskirts of Benghazi.   (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus)
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(Newser) – The US has joined the fight in Libya: American ships (and one British submarine) fired more than 110 Tomahawk missiles at 20 radar and communication sites inside the country, reports ABC. It's the first phase of what's being called Operation Odyssey Dawn, with the current focus on taking out Moammar Gadhafi's air defenses. Earlier, a French fighter jet made the first strike against pro-Gadhafi forces by destroying a military vehicle—probably a tank—near Benghazi. American planes are expected to get involved eventually, but not US ground troops.

Hillary Clinton emphasized that this is "a broad international effort," notes CNN. "Now America has unique capabilities, and we will bring them to bear to help our European and Canadian allies and Arab partners to stop further violence against civilians." The military action comes after Gadhafi told the US and other nations today in letters—he referred to Obama as "our son"—that he would not abide by the UN resolution to cease attacks on rebels. Click for the Huffington Post's live blog on updates.

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