France has said it shot down and destroyed a Libyan military aircraft as it was landing. It is the first such incident since the enforcement of the UN no-fly zone in Libya began.
The coalition now claims it has total supremacy over Libya’s skies. The raids saw Gaddafi’s tribal fierdom of Sebha come under attack, with several military sites targeted. The air strikes, however, reportedly failed to stop forces loyal to the regime re-entering Misrata.
Libyan TV broadcast images of areas it said had come under allied attack with the leadership claiming at least eighteen civilians had been killed.
Foreign camera crews were also given access for the first time to a hospital in Tripoli where government officials said victims of the West’s air raids were being treated. Journalists were also allowed into the morgue and saw a number of corpses of adult males said to have been killed in the bombardment.
Despite that, French officials said the allies were certain no civilians had died in the raids.
French military spokesman Colonel Thierry Burkard said: ‘‘In terms of the collateral damage that Libyan TV purports to show, I can assure you that of the strikes that were carried out, we are certain that there has been no collateral damage.’‘
The latest claim and counter claim came after a fifth night of air strikes aimed at destroying Gaddafi’s air defences under its UN mandate to enforce a no-fly zone.
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