The U.S. military has confirmed that one of its unmanned Predator drone aircraft has struck its first target in Libya in support of the NATO-led campaign, but did not provide any other significant details.
Before Saturday's hit, two US Predator done were already in use above Libya, but only for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions.
Drones, which the U.S. has deployed for years along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border, specializes in precision bombing, thus minimizing the risk of civilian casualties.
General James Cartwright, the vice-chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, said the Predators bring their ability to get down lower and therefore, to be able to get better visibility, particularly on targets that have started to dig themselves into defensive positions.”
Meanwhile, the Libyan government stated that the fight for the rebel-held western city of Misrata – which has endured a brutal siege by state security soldiers for weeks – might become transferred to local tribes loyal to Moammar Gaddafi.
Deputy Foreign Minister Khaled Kaim said Libyan government forces will withdraw from the city and indicated that tribal soldiers will not exhibit the same “restraint” with respect to civilians.
Human rights activists estimate that more than 1,000 people may already have died in Misrata.