An American Predator was used for the first time in Libya on Saturday, striking at the forces of Moammar Gadhafi two days after President Obama authorized the use of aerial drones in the bloody civil war there.
The strikes indicate a renewed presence for the U.S. military, which had halted combat sorties soon after handing over the operation to NATO last month. Gadhafi’s forces withdrew from the western city of Misrata after almost two months of heavy fighting, though there is some debate as to whether they had been driven out by rebels or ordered out as part of a new strategy. —KDG
The Pentagon has confirmed that the United States Air Force has carried out its first armed Predator drone strike in Libya, two days after President Obama gave his approval.
“The first Predator strike in Libya occurred today in the early afternoon local time. Per common practice we are not providing any details,” said Pentagon spokesman Captain Darryn James.
On Thursday President Obama gave approval for two armed American Predator drones to operate over Libya, according to Defense Secretary Robert Gates.
The U.S. has flown armed drones in Libya for the past several weeks, but they have been used only for surveillance. They will now be used to strike Gadhafi’s forces as part of the civilian protection mission.