The skies over Libya are free for allies to roam now that Moammar Gadhafi’s air force “no longer exists,” according to Vice-Marshall Greg Begwell of Britain’s Royal Air Force. The British commander said that allied forces will now focus their pressure on the Libyan armed forces, who would be attacked “whenever they threaten civilians or attack population centres.” Allied aircraft have flown over 300 sorties and fired more than 162 cruise missiles since Operation Odyssey Dawn began on March 19. Heavy fighting continues near the rebel-held city of Misrata, where new air strikes were launched and sniper fire was reported. One Misrata resident said pro-Gadhafi snipers were targeting civilians. On Tuesday, Gadhafi addressed a crowd of supporters in Tripoli, urging “all Islamic armies” to join his forces. NATO has also begun its blockade of the Libyan coastline, and will search vessels for arms shipments in order to enforce a UN embargo against the Gadhafi regime.
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