US Taking "Lion's Share" of Military Action in Libya, Despite NATO Command
The United States has undertaken the lion's share of coalition military sorties against Libya late Saturday and Sunday, despite NATO formally taking command of operations, Pentagon figures showed.
Of 167 sorties flown between 1930 GMT Saturday and 1500 GMT Sunday, more than half -- some 97 -- used US aircraft, the US Defense Department said.
That figure is only slightly less than the 62 percent of sorties flown by the US planes since Operation Odyssey Dawn got underway on March 19.
The latest Pentagon figures showed some 1,424 missions conducted during the operation so far as it imposes a United Nations Security Council-mandated no-fly zone over Libya.
The international coalition enforcing the no-fly zone, headed by the United States, Britain and France, has struck Kadhafi's defense and air capabilities and sought to protect Libyan civilians.
As rebels pushed towards Tripoli after nine days of Western bombings on Kadhafi forces, NATO ambassadors overcame objections from Turkey and France after days of tense talks and agreed to take control of the campaign.
"Our goal is to protect civilians and civilian-populated areas under threat of attack from the Kadhafi regime," declared NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen.
"NATO will implement all aspects of the UN resolution. Nothing more, nothing less," he said