Mullen: Libya No-Fly Zone in Place

Joint Chiefs Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen said Sunday the United States and its coalition partners have a no-fly zone “effectively in place” over parts of northern Libya after an initial wave of cruise missile strikes and aerial bombing attacks were “very effective” in degrading Libyan air defense systems. “We’ve got combat air patrol aircraft over Benghazi and we will have them there on a 24/7 basis,” Mullen told CNN’s “State of the Union” program. He said CAP coverage would start to expand west—closer to the Libyan capital of Tripoli—noting that Libyan combat aircraft haven’t flown “for the last two days.” Mullen’s comments came one day after Operation Odyssey Dawn began with US and British warships in the Mediterranean launching Tomahawk cruise missiles against Libyan air defenses. There were also US, British, and French air strikes that included three Air Force B-2 stealth bombers and USAF F-15s and F-16s, Lt. Cmdr. James Stockman, US Africa Command spokesman, told the Daily Report Sunday. These attacks targeted sites around Tripoli, Misurata, and Surt, he said. Mullen said they also struck Libyan airfields as well as ground forces loyal to Libyan ruler Muammar Gadhafi near opposition-controlled Benghazi. (CNN webpage with Mullen video) (See also CNN Libya blog)