President Barack Obama authorized limited military action against Libya Saturday, saying Moammar Gadhafi's continued assault on his own people left the U.S. and its international partners with no other choice. The Pentagon said 112 cruise missiles were launched from US and UK ships and subs, hitting 20 targets.
U.S. military forces are launching an attack to destroy Libya's air defenses, joining an international air campaign against the regime of Libyan Col. Moammar Gadhafi.
In a news briefing at the Pentagon Saturday, a senior defense official said U.S. forces would launch a coordinated series of strikes to destroy Libya's coastal air defenses and radar installations and enable a U.N.-mandated no-fly zone.
"We're on the leading edge of a coalition here," the official said....
Key first strikes are expected along the Libyan coastline, where the country's integrated and missile defense systems are located. "Once we do that, that would open up the environment where we could enforce the no-fly zone from east to west of Libya," the official said.
Earlier today, an international coalition declared that it would intervene militarily in Libya. Now, the US joins that effort in an attempt to "prevent further attacks by regime forces on Libyan citizens and opposition groups, especially in and around Benghazi," according to a senior defense official.
Gadhafi said that "The international coalition will regret daring to intervene in Libya."
In a statement following today's Paris summit, immediately after which the international military intervention began, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said, "we have every reason to fear that left unchecked, Gadhafi will commit unspeakable atrocities."
Obama said military action was not his first choice.
"This is not an outcome the U.S. or any of our partners sought," Obama said from Brazil, where he is starting a five-day visit to Latin America. "We cannot stand idly by when a tyrant tells his people there will be no mercy."
The AP contributed to this report.