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Air Strikes on Libya

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After the U.N. Security Council authorized the use of "all necessary measures" to protect civilians under attack by Libyan government forces, U.S., British, and French forces launched fighter jets and missiles over the weekend, attacking air defense facilities and troops loyal to Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi near the rebel-held town of Benghazi. Rebel fighters attempted to retake the town of Ajdabiya from Qaddafi's forces earlier today but were driven back by heavy fire. Meanwhile, conflicting reports still emerge from the country: Rebels claim that Qaddafi's men continue to attack, despite their stated cease-fire; and Qaddafi loyalists claim that there were massive civilian casualties from the Allied bombardment this weekend, while Western forces deny these claims. [35 photos]

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Vehicles belonging to forces loyal to Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi explode after an air strike by coalition forces, along a road between Benghazi and Ajdabiyah March 20, 2011. (Reuters/Goran Tomasevic)
Vehicles belonging to forces loyal to Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi explode after an air strike by coalition forces, along a road between Benghazi and Ajdabiyah March 20, 2011. (Reuters/Goran Tomasevic)
A Libyan jet bomber crashes after being hit over Benghazi on March 19, 2011 as Libya's rebel stronghold came under attack, with at least two air strikes and sustained shelling of the city's south sending thick smoke into the sky. There were conflicting reports about who was flying the plane and who shot it down. (Patrick Baz/AFP/Getty Images) #
A Libyan rebel grimaces on the frontline near Sultan, south of Benghazi, Libya, Friday, March 18, 2011. (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus) #
Five-year-old Libyan boy Mohammed Achmed is treated by a doctor in the Jalaa hospital in Benghazi, eastern Libya, Saturday, March 19, 2011. Mohammed received bullet wounds to his chest early Saturday as fighting broke out in Benghazi. He was with his mother who also received bullet wounds. (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus) #
A female rebel fighter supporter shoots an AK-47 rifle as she reacts to the news of the withdrawal of Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi's forces from Benghazi March 19, 2011. A rebel spokesman said on Saturday anti-government troops had driven out forces loyal to Muammar Qaddafi who had entered the eastern city of Benghazi. (Reuters/Goran Tomasevic) #
The bloodied arm of a fighter loyal to Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi hangs out of a damaged vehicle in Benghazi after he was killed by rebel fighters, March 19, 2011. (Reuters/Goran Tomasevic) #
A Libyan rebel jumps on top of a still-burning car after Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi's forces where pushed back from Benghazi, eastern Libya, Saturday, March 19, 2011. (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus) #
An injured captured soldier loyal to Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi is interrogated by a rebel soldier at the Jalaa hospital in Benghazi, eastern Libya, Saturday, March 19, 2011. In the hours before the no-fly zone over Libya went into effect, Qaddafi sent warplanes, tanks and troops into Benghazi, the rebel capital and first city to fall to the rebellion that began Feb. 15. (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus) #
People surround the burned body of a Libyan rebel fighter who was killed earlier on Saturday at the morgue of the Jalaa hospital in Benghazi, eastern Libya, Saturday, March 19, 2011. (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus) #
Dead soldiers loyal to Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi, which rebels claim are mostly mercenaries from different countries, are seen in the morgue of the Jalaa hospital in Benghazi, eastern Libya, Saturday, March 19, 2011. (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus) #
Seen through night-vision lenses aboard amphibious transport dock USS Ponce (LPD 15), guided missile destroyer USS Barry (DDG 52) fires Tomahawk cruise missiles in support of Operation Odyssey Dawn in the Mediterranean Sea on March 19, 2011. This was one of approximately 110 cruise missiles fired from U.S. and British ships and submarines that targeted about 20 radar and anti-aircraft sites along Libya's Mediterranean coast. (Reuters/Nathanael Miller/U.S. Navy photo) #
An F-16 jet fighter flies over the NATO airbase in Aviano, Italy, Sunday, March 20, 2011. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno) #
Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Stout (DDG 55) launches a Tomahawk missile in support of Operation Odyssey Dawn in the Mediterranean Sea on March 19, 2011. (Reuters/Jeramy Spivey/U.S. Navy photo) #
Tracer fire is seen in the sky from anti-aircraft rounds fired above the hotel where foreign media and government officials are staying, in Tripoli, Libya, as explosions rocked the city Sunday March 20, 2011. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay) #
Libyan soldiers survey the damage to an administrative building hit by a missile late Sunday in the heart of Muammar Qaddafi's Bab Al Azizia compound in Tripoli, Libya, early Monday, March 21, 2011 as they are pictured during an organized trip by the Libyan authorities. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay) #
British RAF Tornado GR4 warplane takes off from RAF Marham, in England, Sunday, March 20, 2011. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant) #
An aerial view of the French aircraft carrier Charles De Gaulle, seen in this photo released on March 20, 2011 by French Defense communication and audiovisual production agency, after leaving the naval base of Toulon March on 20, 2011. The carrier, carrying a crew of around 1,800 and some 20 aircraft, was accompanied by an attack submarine, several frigates and a refueling ship defense officials said. (Reuters/ECPAD/Handout) #
A plane takes off from the RAF (Royal Air Force) Akrotiri a British military base near southern port city of Limassol, Cyprus, Sunday, March 20, 2011. (AP Photo/Petros Karadjias) #
A pilot enters a Rafale jet fighter at the military base of Saint Dizier, eastern France, Saturday, March 19, 2011. (AP Photo/ ECPAD, Sebastien Dupont) #
A Libyan rebel dressed in a jacket of the Italian national soccer team celebrates with a rocket in the outskirts of Benghazi, eastern Libya, Sunday, March 20, 2011. (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus) #
A rebel fighter looks at burning vehicles belonging to forces loyal to Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi after an air strike by coalition forces, along a road between Benghazi and Ajdabiyah March 20, 2011. (Reuters/Goran Tomasevic) #
A tank belonging to forces loyal to Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi explodes after an air strike by coalition forces, along a road between Benghazi and Ajdabiyah March 20, 2011. (Reuters/Goran Tomasevic) #
A rebel fighter runs for cover in front of vehicles belonging to forces loyal to Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi after an air strike by coalition forces, along a road between Benghazi and Ajdabiyah March 20, 2011. (Reuters/Goran Tomasevic) #
Burning wreckage is blasted from burning vehicles belonging to forces loyal to Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi after an air strike by coalition forces, along a road between Benghazi and Ajdabiyah March 20, 2011. (Reuters/Goran Tomasevic) #
A rebel fighter lies on the side of a road, watching burning vehicles belonging to forces loyal to Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi between Benghazi and Ajdabiyah March 20, 2011. (Reuters/Goran Tomasevic) #
People look at destroyed tanks belonging to forces loyal to Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi after an air strike by coalition forces between Benghazi and Ajdabiyah on March 20, 2011. (Reuters/Suhaib Salem) #
A Libyan rebel walks past dead bodies of members of Muammar Qaddafi forces in al-Wayfiyah, 35 km West of Benghazi hit by French warplanes on March 20, 2011. (Patrick Baz/AFP/Getty Images) #
The head of a goat is hung on the muzzle of a destroyed tank, belonging to forces loyal to Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi, after an air strike by coalition forces along a road between Benghazi and Ajdabiyah March 20, 2011. (Reuters/Suhaib Salem) #
The dead bodies of teenage African members of Muammar Qaddafi's forces lie among debris in al-Wayfiyah, west of Benghazi, after being hit by French warplanes on March 20, 2011. (Patrick Baz/AFP/Getty Images) #
A Libyan rebel smiles next to wrecked military vehicles belonging to Muammar Qaddafi forces hit by French warplanes on March 20, 2011. (Patrick Baz/AFP/Getty Images) #
A rebel fighter points his gun at a suspected Qaddafi supporter as other rebels try to protect the suspected supporter, on a road between Benghazi and Ajdabiyah, near Ajdabiyah March 21, 2011. Western powers launched a second wave of air strikes on Libya early on Monday after halting the advance of Muammar Qaddafi's forces on Benghazi and targeting air defenses to let their planes patrol the skies. (Reuters/Goran Tomasevic) #
A Libyan rebel fighter smiles as he gathers with comrades prior to a failed attempt to take the town of Ajdabiya from Muammar Qaddafi's forces on March 21, 2011 as news reports said Libyan government forces pulled back 100 kilometers (60 miles) from rebel-held Benghazi but showed they still had plenty of fight as they beat off an insurgent advance. The forces loyal to Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi retreated to the key town of Ajdabiya, south of the city of Benghazi, after Western-led air strikes destroyed much of their armor, leaving dozens of wrecked tanks along the road. (Patrick Baz/AFP/Getty Images) #
Libyan rebels duck for cover during a failed attempt to take the town of Ajdabiya from Muammar Qaddafi's forces on March 21, 2011 as news reports said Libyan government forces pulled back 100 kilometers (60 miles) from rebel-held Benghazi but showed they still had plenty of fight as they beat off an insurgent advance. (Patrick Baz/AFP/Getty Images) #
Libyan rebels retreat with their injured under heavy fire following a failed attempt to take the town of Ajdabiya from Muammar Qaddafi's forces on March 21, 2011. Arabic graffiti on the back of the vehicle reads: "God is the greatest". (Patrick Baz/AFP/Getty Images) #
Libyan rebels carry an injured comrade following a failed attempt to take the town of Ajdabiya from Muammar Qaddafi's forces on March 21, 2011. (Patrick Baz/AFP/Getty Images) #

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