Yesterday’s RAF strikes were mounted against the naval base at Al Khums, the nearest concentration of regime warships to the port of Misurata, which Colonel Gaddafi has repeatedly attempted to close to humanitarian shipping.
Major General John Lorimer, the Chief of the Defence Staff’s Strategic Communications Officer, said:
As well as hitting two corvettes in the harbour, the Royal Air Force Tornados successfully targeted a facility in the dockyard constructing fast inflatable boats which Libyan forces have used several times in their efforts to mine Misurata and attack vessels in the area.
Although prompt action each time by Royal Navy and other NATO warships has prevented any damage being caused by these attacks, the destruction last night of the facility and a significant stockpile of the boats will reduce the regime’s ability to sustain such tactics.
Before the start of the NATO naval patrols, Colonel Gaddafi had used his conventional warships, such as the corvettes, to shell coastal towns; last night’s operation will have had a very significant impact on his ability to do so again.
Earlier this week, intensive air patrols were maintained following Monday’s successful attacks on Colonel Gaddafi’s intelligence agencies.
RAF Tornado and Typhoon ground attack aircraft struck a command bunker on Tuesday near Tarhunah, south east of Tripoli.
The jets also patrolled the skies around Misurata, destroying a multiple rocket launcher and armoured vehicle south of the city. Further west, two main battle tanks and two armoured personnel carriers, spotted near Yafran, were destroyed.
Royal Navy and Royal Air Force precision attacks have damaged or destroyed some 330 regime targets since the start of operations to enforce United Nations Security Council Resolution 1973.