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Norway sends F-16 fighter jets to join strikes against Libya

RIA Novosti

16:35 21/03/2011

STOCKHOLM, March 21 (RIA Novosti) - Norway sent six F-16 Falcon fighters to join the UN-authorized military operation against Muammar Gaddafi's regime in Libya, the Norwegian NRK television and radio broadcasting station said on its website on Monday.

The new UN Security Council resolution on Libya adopted last Thursday encompasses a no-fly zone and makes Gaddafi's forces potential targets for U.S. and European strikes.

"Norway is aiming to comply with the UN Security Council resolution in political, humanitarian and military terms in order to ensure the protection of the civilian population," NRK quoted Norwegian Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Stoere as saying.

The Norwegian fighter jets will operate from one of the NATO airbases in the Mediterranean Sea.

The military operation against Libya's strongman Gaddafi who has ruled the country with an iron fist for more than 40 years began on Saturday, involving the United States, Britain, France, Italy, Canada and other countries.

Denmark was the first among North European countries to send four F-16 fighter jets to join the international military intervention in Libya.

Libyan television has reported that at least 50 civilians were killed and over 150 wounded in the first wave of UN coalition airstrikes and that many health and education facilities have been destroyed.

Russia, which abstained from voting for harsh military actions against Libya in the UN Security Council, has sharply criticized the West for "staging a military intervention in a sovereign state."

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