The PM has passed on "heartfelt thanks" to RAF personnel engaged in Libya during a visit to the Italian Gioia del Colle airbase.
The base has been the temporary home for the last 2 weeks for British Typhoon and Tornado fighters enforcing UN Security Council resolution 1973 .
Speaking to servicemen and women, the PM said the crews involved had saved thousands of lives in Benghazi and other parts of Libya by preventing assaults by Colonel Qadhafi’s forces on civilians and rebel soldiers.
The whole country should be proud of what they have done. They have responded incredibly quickly. They have flown many sorties. They have been extremely successful in holding back Qadhafi’s forces.
Just over the weekend, they have destroyed 10 armoured vehicles and three tanks and they have flown a huge number of missions very rapidly and, as ever, very brilliantly.
The PM also announced the deployment of four more Tornado fighters to the base to assist the military effort, taking the total deployment to 10 Typhoons and 12 Tornados engaged in enforcing a no-fly zone and carrying out ground attacks respectively.