Coalition air strikes hit two air defense bases in eastern Libya

Coalition forces have hit radar installations at two air defense bases to the east of Libya’s opposition stronghold of Benghazi, Al Jazeera has reported.

The TV channel quoted Libyan government reports as saying the attacks, carried out late on Monday, had killed many civilians.

A military operation against Libya’s strongman Muammar Gaddafi, who has been in power for more than 40 years, began on Saturday after the UN Security Council adopted a resolution approving all necessary measures to protect Libya’s civilian population from attacks by pro-Gaddafi forces.

After a weekend of attacks by coalition forces, pro-Gaddafi troops were reported to have retreated on Monday to Ajdabiya, a strategic town about 60 miles to the south of Benghazi. The air strikes seriously damaged Libya’s air defense systems, as well as part of Gaddafi’s residential compound in Tripoli, media reports said.

Libyan television has reported that at least 50 civilians have been killed and over 150 wounded in the UN strikes and that many health and education facilities have been destroyed.

The UN Security Council on Monday rejected a Libyan request to hold an emergency meeting to stop what it called “military aggression” by Western powers. In his letter to the UN, Libyan Foreign Minister Musa Kousa accused France and the United States of bombing “several civilian sites” in Libya in violation of the UN Charter.

The Security Council has said it will discuss the international operation in Libya during a regular meeting on Thursday.

MOSCOW, March 22 (RIA Novosti)

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