FACTBOX-Western military assault on Libya's Gaddafi

Tue Mar 22, 2011 10:50pm GMT

March 22 (Reuters) - Below is a synopsis of military action in Libya so far, beginning with latest developments. New items marked with a *


* -- The number of sorties flown by nations participating in operations against Muammar Gaddafi rose to 336, including 212 U.S. sorties, since operations began, the U.S. military said. The number of Tomahawk missiles fired climbed to 162.

* -- U.S. President Barack Obama expressed confidence the United States would be able to transfer control of Libya operations to an international coalition within days, but negotiations among allies continued. A defiant Gaddafi vowed foreign forces would be defeated.

* -- A U.S. Air Force F-15E fighter jet crashed in eastern Libya overnight after apparent mechanical failure, but its two crew members were recovered safe, the Pentagon said.

During a Marine rescue operation for the pilot of the plane, launched from a U.S. amphibious assault ship in the Mediterranean, AV-8B Harrier jets dropped two GBU-12 bombs.

It was unclear whether the strike produced any casualties, a senior Marine official said. The rescue mission involved two Harriers, two Osprey tiltrotor planes, two CH-53E helicopters and a C-130 refueling plane, the official said.

The military also declined to confirm or deny reports that rescue operations for the F-15 crew produced Libyan civilian casualties.

* -- The British Ministry of Defence says Typhoon aircraft continued patrols and that a further four GR4 Tornado jets left Britain to conduct reconnaissance over Libya.   Continued...

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