Benghazi: Qaddafi knows that if his troops are in an inhabited, foreign aircraft may not beat them for fear of causing civilian casualties.
March 20, 1911 - - Francesca Cicardi
CAIRO-The hope and fear mingled in the Libyan cities last night after it began international intervention designed to stop the atrocities committed by Colonel Muammar Gaddafi against his own people. He had fulfilled his promises and attacked Benghazi yesterday morning, when the rebels and citizens still awaiting the arrival of foreign forces, which was wait two days. French planes began patrolling the skies of Benghazi yesterday afternoon and, in the first attack of this international operation Libyan soil, destroyed several army tanks Qaddafi on the outskirts of the city. A U.S. official said the air defense system of the regime of Libyan leader was "gravely disabled" by a US-led bombing.
Militants clashed with the forces of Colonel in the streets of some neighborhoods in Benghazi, where sleeper cells appeared his followers, who had remained hidden until now. The rebels also tried to implement one of the very few and very old aircraft at their disposal, but could do little with their heavy artillery weapons against Gaddafi, who is using Grad ground-ground missiles against houses and cars, even against people when they are designed to be used against vehicles and military aircraft.
His forces shelled with mortar fire for hours some densely populated neighborhoods of the rebel capital, which is estimated to have between 700,000 and one million people, many of which launched yesterday to flee to safer areas, passed away yesterday after a 30 people, according to the TV station Al Jazeera, and dozens were wounded, including children. The fighting had stopped in Benghazi yesterday afternoon and the presence of foreign fighter offered its inhabitants a sense of relief and protection, but they remained on alert for a possible counterattack by the forces of dictator, which could come back early morning.
For its part, Libya called for an urgent meeting of the Security Council of the UN, while Gaddafi condemned the intervention, which he called "cross-colonialist" and said that from now on, the Mediterranean has become a field battle. The dictator is still challenging and threatening the international community and called on the Libyan people to bear arms. His regime maintained its intense propaganda offensive Monday and yet another press conference the day, a spokesman, Mohammed al-Zawya, was surprised international intervention after the Libyan government had reportedly declared a ceasefire on Friday, that the government defends Gaddafi at all times that is being respected. But the Army, in addition to launching the attack on Benghazi, continued yesterday with the punitive operations against the last rebel strongholds in the west of the country, especially Misrata, it takes days resisting a brutal siege by government troops.
Therefore, the third largest city was also targeted attacks target U.S. aircraft, began operations last night also on Gaddafi's hometown, Sirte and Tripoli, the capital, stronghold of the dictator and where he prepared to survive a new attack. Their headquarters and was bombed by the U.S. in 1986, Gaddafi was available yesterday to receive a new assault on the Bab Aziza, on the outskirts of the capital, reinforcing security and surrounding himself with his followers, which would serve as human shields : Colonel opened the doors of his fortified residence-secret, and allowed a demonstration attended by women and children.
This same strategy is behind the assault on Benghazi: Qaddafi knows that if his troops are in an inhabited, foreign aircraft may not beat them for fear of causing civilian casualties. Al Zawi, last night offered the first official reaction to Western intervention, claimed that the bombing by international forces, which began late in the afternoon, were causing damage to buildings and causing civilian casualties "and fill the hospitals." Beyond the lies and inconsistencies at the Gaddafi regime has used the world over the last few days, all parties are aware that military action carries risks and so-called collateral damage.