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Libya: US Predator Drone Strikes


The United States says it has launched its first unmanned Predator drone strike in Libya, while rebels say pro-government forces appear to be ending a siege on a rebel stronghold near Tripoli.

A U.S. Defense Department statement says the airstrike was carried out Saturday, but it did not say where the strike occurred. The strike is part of a NATO-led effort to impose a no-fly zone over Libya, where rebels are fighting to overthrow the government.

In Misrata, which has seen some of the fiercest fighting of the conflict, rebels Saturday were claiming victory as forces loyal to Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi retreated. Earlier Saturday, witnesses reported casualties in the city after rebels clashed with retreating pro-government forces.

Political Map of Libya
Political Map of Libya

On Friday, Libyan officials had said the military would withdraw from Misrata and leave its fate in the hands of the “tribes around Misrata and the Misrata people.”

Earlier Saturday, NATO forces bombed an area close to the Libyan leader’s compound in Tripoli, hitting what reporters described as a military installation. There were no reports of injuries.

And the Italian Foreign Ministry said Libyan authorities had released an Italian ship detained in the port of Tripoli last month along with its 11 crew members. The ship, which was working for an Italian oil company, was seized shortly before the international coalition began imposing the no-fly zone.

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