In the early hours of Tuesday morning, British Army attack helicopters struck Colonel Gaddafi’s troops engaged in the repression of the civilian population of western Libya.
Having launched from the helicopter carrier HMS Ocean, the Apaches penetrated the Libyan coast between Zuwarah and Az Zawiyah. Fleet Air Arm Sea King helicopters provided radar surveillance, while NATO fixed-wing aircraft provided overwatch for the operation.
Flying inland, the Apaches targeted three vehicle checkpoints, which had been located in advance by intensive NATO reconnaissance operations and were being used to prevent free movement by local people.
At each checkpoint, military vehicles and structures were identified and successfully engaged using Hellfire missiles and cannon fire, as well as infantry positions. In total, four military structures and seven vehicles were destroyed, including at least one multiple-barrelled rocket launcher.
A particular focus of operational activity on Saturday was the wider area around Misurata. To the south of the city, near Tawurgha, Royal Air Force Tornado and Typhoon aircraft successfully attacked a large former grain farm, which NATO surveillance operations had revealed was being used by the regime as a base for multiple rocket launchers to bombard Misurata with.
To the south west of the city, two RAF reconnaissance patrols located a battery of four howitzers also threatening the city, and attacks with precision-guided weapons destroyed all four, as well as an armed pick-up truck.
One of the RAF flights followed up this action with a patrol over the Jebel Nafusa region, 120 miles (193km) to the west. Near Mizdah, it located yet another of Colonel Gaddafi’s field guns, which was duly destroyed.
At sea, to the west of Misurata, the destroyer HMS Liverpool engaged regime forces on the coast at Zlitan with a number of high explosive and illumination rounds from her 4.5-inch (114mm) gun. See Related News to read more on this.
Yesterday, 13 July 2011, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, after meeting with a delegation of the Libyan Transitional National Council, made a statement on ‘The Way Forward in Libya’.