International forces start military action in Libya

International forces have begun military action in Libya to enforce a no-fly zone over its territory under a UN resolution.

French military jets are already over Libya, to enforce the no-fly zone.

UN Resolution 1973 authorizes member states “to take all necessary measures to protect civilians and civilian populated areas under threat of attack in the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, including Benghazi, while excluding a foreign occupation force of any form on any part of Libyan territory.”

At an emergency meeting in Paris, attended by French President Nicolas Sarkozy, British Prime Minister David Cameron, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, UN chief Ban Ki-moon and representatives of the Arab League, they have decided to resort to military force to enforce the no-fly zone.

According to reports, the operation which is expected to start on Saturday evening straight after the meeting in Paris includes French, British and Arab jets.

Earlier, US president Barack Obama issued an ultimatum to Muammar Gaddafi, backed by France, the UK and Arab countries, demanding that Gaddafi immediately stops all attacks against the Libyan civilian population.

Otherwise, Obama said, “the international community will impose consequences, and the [UN] resolution will be enforced through military action.”

On Friday, Libyan Foreign Minister Mussa Kussa announced that the Gaddafi regime had decided on an immediate ceasefire. However, reports started coming in on Saturday that Gaddafi’s forces have carried out air strikes and shelled Benghazi, the stronghold of the Libyan rebels, and then attacked it. Also, a fighter jet has been shot down over the city.

The Libyan regime declared it had nothing to do with the attack and blamed the rebels for breaking the ceasefire.

Gaddafi then went further, saying in a letter to Nicolas Sarkozy, David Cameron, and Ban Ki-moon, that the UN resolution to enforce a no-fly zone over Libya was “invalid” and added that the world powers would “regret” it if they “dare to intervene” in Libya.

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