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5:14 - From The Wall Street Journal: "Coalition jets fired 12 more cruise missiles at Libyan missile, command and air-defense sites, said U.S. commander in Africa Gen. Carter Ham."  Gen. Ham told reporters that "the international coalition is focusing on knocking out Libya's ability to command and control its forces."

4:26 - "Reva Bhalla, an international analyst with Stratfor tells the BBC: 'There seems to be a pretty big gap between mission and strategy. If the coalition's mission is to oust Gaddafi - which is also the stated goal of the eastern rebels - it cannot be done purely with an air campaign so it raises the question - how far are the coalition willing to go?'"

3:41 PM EST - More from Obama's speech in Chile, on Libyan conflict: "The legitmate aspirations of the people must be met. Violence against civilians is not the answer. It is US policy that Gaddafi needs to go. He has lost legitimacy. I could not be prouder of the way the US military has performed, but obviously our military will be stretched. For us to have international cooperation is something we should embrace." (via the Telegraph)

3:30 - From Associated Press, breaking: "Libyan TV says the capital Tripoli has come under a new attack by international airstrikes, now in their third night....It was not immediately known what the strikes were targeting."

3:18 - "U.S. President Barack Obama has said the United States expects to transfer the lead military role in Libya to other allies in a matter of days," the Telegraph reports.

3:13 - From CNN: "U.S. President Barack Obama, addressing the situation in Libya during a trip to Chile, said that "it is U.S. policy" that [Qaddafi] 'has to go.'"

3:07 - Earlier today the New York Times noted that British Tornado aircraft had to abort their airstrike targeting air defense systems when "a number of civilians" were reported to be "within the intended target area." In another incident, Fox News is now reporting that "seven Storm Shadow missiles were ready to be fired from a British aircraft, but the strikes had to be curtailed due to crews from CNN, Reuters and other organizations nearby." Pro-Qaddafi Libyan officials were using them as "human shields."

Updating Coverage:

Original Post - Iran Ayatollah Denounces Libya Airstrikes (2:37 PM EST):

Iran's supreme leader has denounced western military intervention in Libya as the coalition steps up its campaign by bombing Muammar Qaddafi's compound and Arab support for the coalition's efforts show signs of fraying.

In an address in honor of the Persian new year, Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei declared that the U.S. and its Western allies had intervened militarily in LibyAira not to defend civilians, as they've professed, but to seize Libyan oil and monitor Egypt and Tunisia, AFP reports.

"Iran utterly condemns the behavior of the Libyan government against its people, the killings and pressure on people, and the bombing of its cities ...  but it [also] condemns the military action in Libya," he said. If the West wanted to help Libyan civilians, Khamenei argued, it would have armed them rather than launch air strikes.

Iranian officials have previously spoken out in support of the Shiite protests against Bahrain's Sunni monarchy, in what many analysts interpreted as an escalation of tensions between Shiite-ruled Iran and Sunni-ruled Gulf countries like Saudi Arabia, which have sent troops to Bahrain to maintain order. But Khamenei claimed that Iran, which has quashed anti-government protests in its own country, supports "all the popular movements which are under the slogan of Islam and [seeking] freedom," whether Sunni- or Shiite-led: "We don't distinguish between Gaza, Palestine, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Bahrain and Yemen. We have supported Palestine for 32 years, and they are not Shiites." He claimed President Obama is "lying" when he says he opposes dictatorships, noting that Obama supported the recently overthrown leaders of Egypt and Tunisia.

Khamenei's comments came as coalition forces launched an air strike on Qaddafi's compound in Tripoli. U.S. and U.K. military officials denied targeting Qaddafi, which they claim is not authorized by the U.N. resolution authorizing military intervention, according to the BBC. The comments contradicted British defense secretary Liam Fox's earlier suggestion that Qaddafi could be a target of air attacks if the safety of civilians could be guaranteed.

The U.S. and its European allies are simultaneously trying to keep Arab states--whose support for military intervention proved critical at the U.N.--from souring on the coalition's mission. Amr Moussa, the secretary general of the Arab League, expressed concern about air strikes causing civilian casualties, though he subsequently reaffirmed his support for the military undertaking. And AFP is just now reporting that the United Arab Emirates will only provite humanitarian assistance in Libya, following reports that it would dispatch warplanes for use in enforcing the no-fly zone.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.

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