- Title: LIBYA: Benghazi rebels celebrate stunting of Gaddafi military by Western powers
- Date: 21st March 2011
- Summary: SLATE INFORMATION
- Embargoed: 5th April 2011 05:28
- Location: Libya
- Country: Libya
- Topics: War / Fighting,International Relations
- Reuters ID: LVA5ASL0U6B2EDXM769D46RVPZ1Z
- Aspect Ratio: 4:3
- Story Text: Western air strikes pounded Muammar Gaddafi's defences, lifting the siege of Benghazi and allowing rebels to surge forward and retake lost ground.
European and U.S. forces unleashed warplanes and cruise missiles on Sunday (March 20) against Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi's forces in the biggest Western military intervention in the Arab world since the 2003 invasion of Iraq.
The strikes halted the advance of Gaddafi's troops on the rebel stronghold of Benghazi and a no-fly zone was now in place over Libya with government air defences "taken out" and no sign of Libyan aircraft in flight, the U.S. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen, told NBC.
A Reuters witness in the eastern rebel stronghold of Benghazi reported loud explosions and anti-aircraft fire during the night, but it was unclear which side was shooting.
The intervention, after weeks of diplomatic wrangling, was welcomed in Benghazi with a mix of apprehension and relief.
Benghazi's main hospital was filled with men, women and children wounded in Saturday's assault on the city by Gaddafi's forces. There were 24 bodies, including eight government troops, visible in the morgue, and more were stored in refrigerators.
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