News story

RAF and Navy strike targets in Tripoli

Missiles fired by the Royal Navy and RAF struck targets in Libya's capital Tripoli last night that are closely involved in the repression of the Libyan people by Colonel Gaddafi's regime.

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In conjunction with strikes by other NATO allies, Royal Navy Tomahawk missiles fired from HMS Triumph and Paveway IV bombs released by Royal Air Force Tornado aircraft struck important intelligence agency buildings and a training base used by Colonel Gaddafi’s Executive Protection Force.

The strikes are the latest action that the UK Armed Forces have taken as part of NATO’s Operation UNIFIED PROTECTOR to enforce United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1973 and protect Libyan civilians under threat of attack.

Major General John Lorimer, the Chief of the Defence Staff’s Strategic Communications Officer, said:

The facilities that were struck lay at the heart of the apparatus used by the regime to brutalise the civilian population.

One of the intelligence facilities which was hit is known to play a significant role in the collection of information by Colonel Gaddafi’s secret police, whilst the other was a headquarters for the External Security Organisation commanded by Abdullah Senussi.

The so-called Executive Protection Force acts as the bodyguard for the inner circle of the Colonel’s regime, and is also entrusted with other sensitive tasks.

Vehicles at the training base have been identified as having been directly involved in the bloody suppression of public demonstrations in Tripoli on 4 March, when live ammunition was used against the legitimate protesters.

This action clearly demonstrates both NATO’s commitment and its ability to reach out and strike directly at Gaddafi’s instruments of repression; the consequences are clear for those who choose to continue supporting this regime. As ever, the utmost care was taken in targeting, with every measure taken to avoid innocent civilian casualties.

Over the weekend, the UK Armed Forces were again in action over Libya with RAF ground attack aircraft joining other NATO aircraft in a strike on a major armoured vehicle repair facility near Tripoli.

They also continued their patrols over Misurata, targeting Colonel Gaddafi’s forces who continue to pose a threat to the civilian population there, and destroyed an artillery piece south of the city.

On Thursday last week an RAF Typhoon aircraft destroyed Libyan self-propelled artillery with Enhanced Paveway II bombs. The aircraft struck the two Palmaria self-propelled guns in an attack near Gaddafi’s home town of Sirte.

The Palmaria is a tracked 155mm Howitzer, with the vehicle design based on a main battle tank, and can fire a variety of ammunition, with firing ranges in excess of 20km.

NATO aircraft have flown more than 6,000 sorties, nearly half of them strike sorties, since NATO assumed command of Operation UNIFIED PROTECTOR on 31 March 2011.

Royal Navy and Royal Air Force precision attacks have damaged or destroyed over 300 regime targets since the start of operations to enforce UNSCR 1973.

Published 17 May 2011