French force launches strike against Gaddafi troops

12:35, March 20, 2011      

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This handout picture released by ECPAD (The French Defence communication and audiovisual production agency) shows French Rafale fighter planes returning to Saint-Dizier military base, eastern France, on March 19, 2011, back to a mission in Libya following UN Security Council resolution. (Xinhua/AFP)

French air force has launched strikes against Gaddafi troops, the spokesman of French general staff Thierry Burckhard told local media, hours after the Paris summit agreed on military intervention on Saturday.

The first French strike targeted a vehicle believed to belong to government troops around 05:45 p.m. Paris time (GMT1645), the spokesman said on BFM, a French television channel.

This was the first foreign military action in Libya since the United Nations adopted a resolution Friday authorizing a no-fly zone in Libya and "all necessary measures" to protect Libyan civilians.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy, at an earlier press conference closing the Paris summit around 05:30 p.m. (GMT1630), confirmed that French warplanes were conducting surveillance missions over Libya.

The Paris summit hosted major decision-makers from the United Nations, the United States, Germany, Britain and other western countries, as well as several leaders from Arab world.

In a statement issued after the meeting, the leaders agreed that Gaddafi had defied the ceasefire call in spite of recent warning of military intervention, and said they are determined to "act coordinately and resolutely" to enforce the UN resolution.

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