Operation "Odyssey Dawn," begins as Coalition Forces attack Libya
The French had warned that action will come within hours of the end of the Paris meeting and they are right. An international military operation is now underway in Libya to enforce United Nations resolution to prevent Colonel Gadhafi's forces attacking civilians. Within the past hours french warplanes have destroyed pro-Gaghafi tanks and amoured vehicles new the rebel city of Bengazi. American and British forces have fired more than a hundred cruise missiles at around twenty military targets in Libya.
The pentagon says this was the first phase of a wider operation. Libyan State TV says civilian targets have been hit.
The UK, the US and France have begun attacking Libya as enforcement of the UN-mandated no-fly zone gets under way.
Pentagon officials say the US and the UK have fired more than 110 missiles.
Libyan leader Col Muammar Gaddafi has said he will open arms depots to the people and the interests of Mediterranean countries will be in danger from now on.
Western planes bombed targets in the capital, Tripoli, said the AFP news agency, quoting witnesses and state TV.
Earlier on Saturday, pro-Gaddafi forces attacked the rebel stronghold of Benghazi despite declaring a ceasefire a day earlier.
A French plane fired the first shots against Libyan government targets at 1645 GMT, destroying a number of military vehicles, according to a military spokesman.
One of the major things that has been happening tonight is American's involvement which has been more of a behind the scene's role but statements from President Obama and the Pentagon reveals a more forward in view of its role in Iraq and Afghanistan and some domestic disquiet about further involvement in any middle east crisis.
U.S. President Barack Obama defended his decision to authorize U.S. involvement in the military action in Libya by casting himself as a reluctant warrior, saying he and other key U.S. allies had no choice but to act because of fears that Moammar Gadhafi was planning to kill more of his own people.
"I want the American people to know that the use of force is not our first choice and it's not a choice that I make lightly," Obama said. "But we cannot stand idly by when a tyrant tells his people that there will be no mercy, and his forces step up their assaults on cities like Benghazi and Misrata, where innocent men and women face brutality and death at the hands of their own government."
Obama added pointedly: "Actions have consequences, and the writ of the international community must be enforced. That is the cause of this coalition."
Obama spoke to reporters here in Brazil shortly after U.S. cruise missiles were launched against targets in Libya.