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Monday, April 11, 2011     INTELLIGENCE BRIEFING

NATO improves intel, delivers effective strikes against Gadhafi's armored forces

CAIRO — For the first time, NATO has waged effective air strikes on the military of Libyan Col. Moammar Gadhafi.


Officials said the Western alliance has fused intelligence and combat strike abilities to attack Gadhafi's forces and armored vehicles in several areas of Libya. They said the NATO air strikes have stopped Gadhafi's main battle tanks and other armored convoys from advancing toward the rebel-held cities of Ajdabiyah, and Misrata.

The rebel movement confirmed the effectiveness of NATO's latest air strikes. Rebel leaders had complained that NATO could not distinguish between Gadhafi forces and their opponents and were bombing rebel assets and positions.

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On April 10, NATO fighter-jets fired missiles that halted a drive by Gadhafi's military toward Ajdabiya. Officials said that for the first time NATO fused intelligence, command and control as well as precision-strike munitions to destroy 25 Libyan Army T-72 MBTs as well as armored personnel carriers and artillery.

"In addition to hitting their supplies, our aircraft successfully destroyed a significant percentage of the Libyan government's armored forces," Bouchard said. "Some of these armored forces also were involved in the indiscriminate shelling of Misrata. By eliminating these heavy weapons, we are reducing the Gadhafi regime's ability to attack the local population."

Ajdabiya has been deemed a strategic goal of Gadhafi in his war against the rebels. The city was said to mark the last step toward the regime's campaign to recapture Benghazi, regarded as the headquarters of the rebel movement.

"The situation in Ajdabiyah, and Misrata in particular, is desperate for those Libyans who are being brutally shelled by the [Gadhafi] regime," Canadian Lt. Gen. Charles Bouchard, commander of NATO's no-fly zone operation in Libya, said.

Tripoli said its military shot down two U.S.-origin CH-47 helicopter near the eastern Libyan city of Brega. Libyan Deputy Foreign Minister Khaled Kaim said the helicopters had been operated by the rebels.

"The rebels used two Chinook helicopters and they were shot down," Kaim said.

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