Early Monday morning, NATO launched a coordinated strike on pro-Qadhafi military forces on both land and sea. A combination of air and maritime assets conducted back-to-back missions resulting in successful strikes against pro-Qadhafi military equipment in the vicinity of Zlitan.
NATO assets including Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) aircraft and Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) aircraft identified and tracked rigid-hulled inflatable boat (RHIB) activity off the Libyan coast west of Misrata near Zlitan. Attack helicopters were deployed and subsequently destroyed two RHIBs being operated by pro-Qadhafi forces threatening maritime traffic in the area. Shortly afterwards, the attack helicopters successfully struck an anti-aircraft heavy machine gun and three military vehicles hidden under trees in the vicinity of Zlitan.
"NATO's attack helicopters make it harder for regime forces to hide their weapons and forces, and we will continue to use any asset, or combination of assets to give us the flexibility that we need," said Lieutenant General Charles Bouchard, Commander of Operation UNIFIED PROTECTOR. "This operation demonstrates the flexibility of the attack helicopters and the seamless integration of maritime assets with air operations."
NATO's Operation UNIFIED PROTECTOR is being conducted under United Nations Security Resolution 1970 and 1973. This mandate authorizes NATO to use all necessary measures to protect the civilian population of Libya.
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