On June 4, NATO launched helicopter strikes in Libya, Middle East Newsline reported. British and French
attack helicopters, including the U.S.-origin AH-64 Apache, fired
air-to-ground rockets that struck radars and other targets in the oil port
of Brega, which once belonged to the rebel movement. On the following day,
the helicopters targeted barracks of the Libyan Army.
"We have to deal with them [Gadhafi] as effectively as we can and that
entails the use of Apache helicopters," Hague told a news conference in the
rebel capital of Benghazi.
Officials said the use of helicopters, which marked the first operations
of British Army Apaches from warships, marked an expansion of the air
war against Gadhafi. They said NATO has so far not agreed to deploy ground
troops to topple the regime in Tripoli, but did not rule out helicopter
the rebels. So far, the rebels have been unable to dislodge Gadhafi's
troops from their positions.
"The Apaches were tasked with precision strikes against a regime radar
installation and a military checkpoint, both located around Brega," British
Maj. Gen. Nick Pope, the communications officer on the Chief of the Defense
Staff, said. "In the same area, Royal Air Force ground attack aircraft
destroyed another military installation, whilst a separate RAF mission
successfully attacked two ammunition bunkers at the large Waddan depot in
Last week, NATO extended its mission in Libya for another 90 days.
Several members, including Britain and France, have decided to escalate
attacks in a drive to oust Gadhafi over the next few weeks.
"We welcome any measures that would expedite the departure of Gadhafi
and his regime," Libyan Transitional Council chief Mustafa Abdul Jalil said.