Gadhafi Cancels Benghazi Offensive

Rebels cheer UN no-fly zone
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 18, 2011 2:45 AM CDT
Gadhafi Cancels Benghazi Offensive
Benghazi erupted with celebratory fireworks and gunfire after the UN decision.   (Getty Images)

(Newser) – As Libyan rebels cheered the United Nations' last-minute approval of a no-fly zone, Moammar Gadhafi's forces decided the promised offensive against Benghazi was off. "We will chase the traitors from Benghazi,” the dictator had told his troops earlier. “Destroy their fortifications. Show them no mercy." Gadhafi's son Saadi, commander of Libya's special forces, tells CNN that there has been a "change in tactics" for "humanitarian reasons," and that troops will merely encircle the city to aid people fleeing.

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Moments after the UN vote, thousands of people in Benghazi broke into cheers and chanted anti-Gadhafi slogans. The UN resolution, as well as imposing a no-fly zone, authorizes "all necessary measures" to protect civilians against Gadhafi's forces. Qatar and the United Arab Emirates are expected to join international forces moving against Gadhafi, possibly as soon as today. (Read more Libya stories.)

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