Saturday, April 30, 2011

Italian Jets Fly First Libyan Strike Mission

Italian aircraft launched their first strikes on Libyan targets April 28, two days after the Italian government said it would participate in NATO air raids on forces led by Col. Moammar Gadhafi.

Defence Ministry sources said "at least a couple" of Tornado aircraft took off from Trapani air base in Sicily to take part in raids.

The Italian government has hitherto refrained from launching strikes on Libya, citing sensitivities over its colonial role in the country. Italian Air Force jets have instead participated in no-fly zone patrols. Italian Tornado ECR aircraft have also monitored the status of Libyan air defense radars.

Italy has made its air bases available to air forces from other nations now flying over Libya.

Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi reportedly switched policy on strike missions after speaking to U.S. President Barack Obama earlier this week.

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