Escalating the Air War over Libya

Brussels—US and coalition forces have flown more than 10,000 sorties over Libya since mid March and struck roughly 1,800 legitimate military targets, Italian Adm. Giampaolo Di Paola told reporters Tuesday during a briefing at NATO headquarters here. The announcement coincided with an escalation in the air war as NATO forces dropped more than 50 bombs on Tripoli-based targets in an unusual daylight attack. Di Paola said Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi’s forces are no longer on the offensive in the eastern part of Libya. However, opposition forces do not yet have the capability to gain new ground. “The military capacity of Qaddafi has been severely degraded,” said Di Paola, chairman of the NATO military committee in charge of Operation Unified Protector. Qaddafi’s forces also are moving farther outside the cities, a sign that “clearly, he has lost ground,” said Di Paola.