Col Muammar Gaddafi says Libya will fight a “long war” after Western air strikes against his forces to protect rebel-held areas.

Military officials are said to be assessing the damage after at least 110 missiles were fired by the US and UK.

After an attack by French planes, some 14 bodies were lying near destroyed military vehicles outside the rebel-held city of Benghazi, Reuters says.

The raids were “successful”, US military chief Adm Mike Mullen said.

The strikes “took out” Libya’s air-defence systems, he told NBC’s Meet the Press programme, saying a no-fly zone was now effectively in place.

US fighter planes and B-2 stealth bombers were also involved in the overnight raids early on Sunday, Pentagon officials said.

Cruise missiles hit at least 20 air-defence sites in the capital, Tripoli, and the western city of Misrata, they said.

Libyan TV has broadcast footage it says showed some of the 150 people wounded in the attacks. It said 48 people had been killed.

There was no independent confirmation of the deaths and UK Finance Minister George Osborne told the BBC that such claims should be treated with caution as the military was striving to avoid civilian casualties.

Adm Mullen also said he had not received any reports of civilian deaths or injuries.

BBC defence correspondent Jonathan Marcus says coalition military planners will be urgently studying satellite and other reconnaissance imagery to determine how much damage has been done to Col Gaddafi’s air defences and to see if some targets may have to be hit again.

He says they will also be monitoring the activities of Libyan government ground forces near key populated areas like Benghazi and Misrata, with any offensive action on their part bringing down urgent air strikes.

A rebel spokesman in Misrata told the BBC that pro-Gaddafi forces had launched fresh attacks on Sunday with heavy shelling in the city.

Inch by inch

“We promise you a long, drawn-out war with no limits,” Col Gaddafi said in a phone call to Libyan state TV on Sunday morning.

He said Western forces had no right to attack Libya, which had done nothing to them.

“We will fight inch by inch,” he said while a sculpture of a golden fist crushing a US jet was being shown.

He earlier said he would open arms depots to the people to defend Libya and described the attacks as “crusader aggression”.

The UN Security Council has approved the use of force to protect civilians.

In the early hours of Sunday morning, heavy bursts of anti-aircraft fire arced into the sky above Tripoli and several explosions were heard.

Sources in Tripoli told BBC Arabic that the attacks on the city had so far targeted the eastern areas of Sawani, Airport Road, and Ghasheer. These are all areas believed to host military bases.

The Western forces began their action on Saturday, after Libyan government forces attacked the main rebel-held city of Benghazi – Col Gaddafi’s allies accused the rebels of breaking the ceasefire.

Source: BBC


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