Gadhafi forces in disarray after assault: Pentagon

A US-led coalition has succeeded in scattering and isolating Libyan strongman Moammar Gadhafi`s forces.

Updated: Mar 21, 2011, 21:28 PM IST

Washington: A US-led coalition has succeeded
in scattering and isolating Libyan strongman Moammar Gadhafi`s
forces after a weekend of punishing air attacks, Pentagon
officials say, and American military authorities are moving to
hand control of the operation to other countries.

Gadhafi is not a target of the campaign, a senior
military official said yesterday, but he could not guarantee
the Libyan leader`s safety.

Navy Vice Adm. William E Gortney, staff director for the
Joint Chiefs of Staff, told a Pentagon news conference there
is no evidence civilians in Libya have been harmed in the air
assault, code named Odyssey Dawn. Gortney also said no allied
planes have been lost and all pilots have returned safely from
missions that used stealth B-2 bombers, jet fighters, more
than 120 Tomahawk cruise missiles and other high-tech weapons.

"We judge these strikes to have been very effective in
significantly degrading the regime`s air defense capability,"
Gortney said. "We believe his forces are under significant
stress and suffering from both isolation and a good deal of
confusion."

But Gortney did not rule out the possibility of further
attacks aimed at preventing Gadhafi from attacking civilians
in Libya and enforcing a no-fly zone.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates said the US expects to
turn control of the mission over to a coalition probably
headed either by the French and British or by NATO "in a
matter of days."

Late yesterday, however, NATO`s top decision-making body
failed to agree on a plan to enforce the no-fly zone over
Libya, although it did approve a military plan to implement a
UN arms embargo.

PTI