|Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi|
An international coalition has launched the first wave of attacks on Libyan air defences and tanks. The military action took place just hours after an emergency summit of world leaders in Paris ended on Saturday afternoon, Paris time. While the leaders were talking, French Mirage fighter jets were seen circling the skies above Libya’s rebel-held eastern city of Benghazi. Soon after, American warships and British submarines launched the first phase of their missile assault. Their aim was to knock out Libya’s air defenses. They fired a total of 112 cruise missiles at more than 20 targets around the capital Tripoli and coastal town of Misurata. Early reports are that Libyan air defences have been severely damaged.
U.S. President Barack Obama said he was reluctant to use force on Libya but believes it is necessary to save the lives of civilians. Speaking in Brazil, he told reporters: "We cannot stand idly by when a tyrant tells his people there will be no mercy." America is trying to keep a lower profile in the military action against Libya. It does not want the world to think it is attacking another Arab country. This may not be the case with world opinion this time round. The coalition includes Arab states who have promised material support for strikes against Libya. Foreign ministers of the UAE, Qatar, Iraq, Jordan and Morocco were at the summit. It is possible some of these countries may even take part in air strikes on Libyan military targets.
Source: Breaking News English
coalition: alliance, an organization of people
summit: a meeting of heads of governments
Mirage: the name of a series of delta-winged fighters and bombers that have been produced by the French aircraft manufacturer Dassault Aviation
reluctant: hesitant, unwilling
idly: in an idle manner; without specific purpose, intent or effort
tyrant: a cruel and oppressive dictator
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