RAF and Navy continue to strike at Gaddafi regime

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

The RAF and Royal Navy have been involved in a number of precision attacks to protect Libyan civilians over the last few days as part of NATO's Operation UNIFIED PROTECTOR.

In the early hours of Monday morning, RAF Tornado and Typhoon aircraft returned for a second night of precision strikes against the large military vehicle depot at Tajura, on the outskirts of Tripoli, which has been used to maintain Colonel Gaddafi’s attacks on the civilian population.

At around the same time, other RAF aircraft conducted a surgical strike on the military Identification Friend or Foe antenna at Tripoli Airport, the use of Brimstone missiles allowing the effect of the attack to be confined to just the military installation.

At sea, the frigate HMS Iron Duke used her 4.5-inch (114mm) gun to fire a barrage of illumination rounds off Zlitan, to the west of Misurata. The star shells helped NATO aircraft to accurately target regime positions in the area, including two rocket-firing sites.

Further military action took place on Tuesday and Wednesday. Major General Nick Pope, the Chief of the Defence Staff’s Communications Officer, said:

On Tuesday morning, an RAF patrol over Zlitan identified a regime mortar position and destroyed it with a Brimstone missile.

The pressure was maintained on Gaddafi’s troops in the area during the night when HMS Ocean launched her Apache attack helicopters against regime forces repressing the population in and around Al Khums; Fleet Air Arm Sea Kings provided airborne radar cover.

The targets were a vehicle checkpoint and a group of buildings which previous NATO surveillance missions had established as being used by regime forces. Hellfire missiles were successfully used to destroy the group of six buildings, as well as a large building at the checkpoint.

Iron Duke once again fired illumination rounds to assist NATO surveillance missions around Zlitan during the night.

Major General Pope continued:

Whilst allied aircraft continued to patrol the length and breadth of Libya, NATO taskings kept the UK’s operational contribution focused on Zlitan throughout Wednesday.

RAF jets attacked some 29 buildings in and around the town which had been variously confirmed by detailed reconnaissance and analysis as command and control centres and military supply, ammunition and fuel storage facilities used by Colonel Gaddafi’s troops in repressing the local people.

Our aircraft also struck five multiple rocket launcher systems and a pair of heavy infantry weapon positions in the area. HMS Iron Duke took action against artillery positions which she observed firing towards Misurata; a number of high explosive rounds from her 4.5-inch [114mm] gun quickly silenced the regime guns.

After dark, Ocean once again launched her Apaches, which used Hellfire missiles to destroy two large military vehicle sheds near Al Khums.

UK missions over Libya are being undertaken to enforce United Nations Security Council Resolution 1973 and protect Libyan civilians at risk of attack.