Posted by | March 19, 2011 11:07 | Filed under: Top Stories

French planes were launched over Libya to enforce an air exclusion zone to stop Muammar Qadaffi’s attacks on rebels.

The planes were in the air not far from Libya this afternoon and were ready to carry out air strikes if there are orders from President Nicolas Sarkozy, a military official with knowledge of the preparations said on condition of anonymity.

Qaddafi’s forces attacked the rebel stronghold of Benghazi today in defiance of international demands for a cease-fire, television stations reported. Al Jazeera cited the head of the rebel council, Mustafa Abdel Jalil, as saying bombing raids took place in the eastern port city of 1 million people. There is no indication that the Libyan leader is following through on his regime’s pledge that it will observe United Nations demands for a cease-fire, a State Department official said.

Strikes against Libya would mark the first military action by Western powers against an Arab government since the invasion of Iraq in 2003. Oil prices have risen 11 percent since the start of the year as the Middle East protests that toppled the leaders of Tunisia and Egypt turned violent, sparking government crackdowns from Libya to Yemen.

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Copyright 2011 Liberaland
By: Alan

Alan Colmes is the publisher of Liberaland.