UPDATE 2-France sends carrier to Libya, conducts more flights

Sun Mar 20, 2011 12:58pm GMT

* Aircraft carrier set sail at 1200 GMT

* Warplanes operating over Libya

(Updates with aircraft carrier departing)

By Elizabeth Pineau and John Irish

PARIS, March 20 (Reuters) - France sent an aircraft carrier towards Libya on Sunday and its warplanes carried out further operations over the north African country, armed forces and defence officials said.

The Charles de Gaulle carrier, the flagship of the French fleet, left the southern port of Toulon at around 1200 GMT, carrying around 1,800 crew members and some 20 aircraft.

The carrier was accompanied by an attack submarine, several frigates and a refuelling ship, defence officials said. [ID:nLDE72I0I2]

"The French operations continue," said a source at armed forces headquarters. "French planes are in place (over Libya)."

President Nicolas Sarkozy's government, alongside Britain, was at the forefront of a campaign to win U.N. backing for a no-fly zone over Libya and to build an international coalition for military strikes to enforce it. [ID:nLDE72I07Y]   Continued...

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