M A I N   N E W S

Gaddafi continues resistance
nGovt troops shell rebel towns nUS fighter jet crashes near Benghazi due to ‘mechanical failure’ 

Tripoli/Washington, March 22
A US warplane crash-landed in Libya as coalition forces hit several defence targets across Tripoli today but there was no let-up by Muammar Gaddafi's military which pounded rebel-held towns of Misurata and Ajdabiya.

A US Air Force F-15E crashed near the rebel stronghold of Benghazi overnight due to "mechanical failure". The US military said both crew members ejected and were now safe, adding that the crash was likely caused by mechanical failure and not hostile fire.

India withdraws ‘non-essential’ staff

New Delhi: India has withdrawn “non-essential” staff from its embassy in the Libyan capital of Tripoli following the NATO-led military action against the Arab nation. Official sources said Indian Ambassador to Libya and seven others were still there in the Libyan capital. — TNS

LS condemns strikes

New Delhi: Cutting across party lines, the Lok Sabha members came together on Tuesday in condemning the international intervention and bombarding of Libya by the NATO forces. Leader of the House Pranab Mukherjee said that no power could take upon itself the right to interfere in any other country. — TNS

The fighting between Gaddafi's forces and rebels continued with government troops shelling Misurata, intensifying their siege of the major oil refinery western city, 200 km east of the capital. The troops also engaged rebels in the eastern town of Ajdabiya where heavy fighting and shelling was continuing.

Amid indications that the "no-fly" zone over Libya was going to be widened to cover almost 1,000 km, the allied firepower also targeted Gaddafi's stronghold of Zuwarah, Sirte, Sebha as well as Ajdabiya.

US President Barack Obama has said that the transition to the coalition against Libya would be based on conditions on the ground, but anticipated this to happen in matter of days. "How quickly this transfer takes place will be determined by the recommendations of our commanding officers that the mission has been completed," he said at a joint news conference with his Chilean counterpart Sebastian Pinera in Santiago, Chile.

As the missile and air strikes continued for the third day, a top US general claimed that the coalition forces had virtually frozen Gaddafi's advance in the key rebel city of Benghazi.

Meanwhile, the UN Security Council will meet later this week to discuss whether the current military action in Libya is in line of what its resolution authorised. "There will be a substantive discussion…and people will naturally want to look at the text of 1973 (resolution) and then see whether this is compliance or less or more," Hardeep Singh Puri, India's envoy to the UN, told journalists in New York.

The 15-member body yesterday rejected a request by Libya to convene an emergency meeting to halt what the country's Foreign Minister Moussa Koussa described as "military aggression" by the US and France. — PTI





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