French Military Chief Says Airforce Destroys Gaddafi’s Artillery

Paris (Xinhua): The Chief of French general staff Edouard Guillaud said on March 26 that a French warplane has destroyed an artillery battery of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi’s forces before Friday sunrise.

According to local media, the French military leader said the strike was conducted on Thursday overnight when the artillery was bombing Ajdabia, Libya’s eastern town, where fights between Gaddafi’s forces and the rebels are reportedly continuing.

Handout photo released by ECPAD (The French Defence communication and audiovisual production agency) on March 25, 2011 shows a French Army Mirage 2000 (R) jet fighter and a Rafale from the Istres airbase refueling to take part in military operations in Libya on March 25.

This was the latest damage to Gaddafi’s troops since the coalition strikes was launched shortly after the Paris summit closed on March 19.

“Libyan air space is under control,” Guillaud told local radio France Info, adding a Libyan plane was also destroyed on ground during Thursday operation.

A Rafale jet attacked the Libyan plane after chased the target to an air base at Misrata, some 200 km east of Libyan capital Tripoli.

So far, French forces had destroyed “facilities extremely important,” including ammunition depots, maintenance facilities, and also a command center.

Reemphasizing the effort to avoid civilian casualties, the French military chief said they would “do the best” and once again excluded the possibility to deploy ground forces into Libya, which is clearly prohibited by the UN resolution 1973.

Meanwhile, Guillaud said he hoped the coalition operation in Libya to last in “weeks” rather than months. Declining to fix a term for the military operation, he said a solution to Libya should be “political.”

Proposed by France, London is going to hold the first political steering meeting expected to group foreign ministers from involved coalition states to discuss next steps in Libya.

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