Coalition forces pound Libya; Gaddafi vows 'revenge'

This photo provided by the French Army shows pilot preparing to take off in a French Mirage 2000 jet fighter at the military base of Dijon, central France, Saturday, March 19. Top officials from the United States, Europe and the Arab world have launched immediate military action to protect civilians as Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi's forces attacked the heart of the country's rebel uprising. The Mirages 2000 are operating in Libya. (AP Photo)
 
Cairo/Washington, March 20 (PTI): The US-led military coalition today hit Libyan defence targets with cruise missiles and launched air attacks as Muammar Gaddafi vowed to open his arms depots to the people to retaliate against the Western "aggression". French jets fired the first shots in Operation Odyssey Dawn, the biggest international military intervention in the Arab world since the 2003 invasion of Iraq, destroying tanks and armoured vehicles in eastern Libya, Al-Jazeera reported. They were joined by the US and the UK who fired over 110 Tomahawk missiles from American and British ships and submarines, hitting about 20 Libyan air and missile defence targets in the capital Tripoli and along the Mediterranean coast, US Navy Vice Adm William Gortney said at a Pentagon briefing.
The aircraft pounded areas in close proximity to the headquarters of Gaddafi in Tripoli early today as eyewitnesses said a jet flew over the Bab al-Azizia military compound, situated in the southern suburbs of Tripoli. Al-Jazeera quoted an unnamed US military officials as saying that "Gaddafi's air defence systems have been severely disabled. It's too soon to predict what he and his ground forces may do in response to today's strikes."
The air strikes was launched yesterday after officials of a number of countries meeting in Paris ordered a large-scale military intervention into Libya in order to end the assaults on civilians launched by Gaddafi's forces.
Spain, Norway, and Denmark have also announced that they are joining the large-scale military intervention into Libya, the Press TV reported.
 
Libyan TV claims 48 killed in allied attacks

Benghazi, March 20 (AP):
As U.S. led coalition forces  pounded Muammar Qadhafi's forces and air defences with cruise missiles and airstrikes, Libyan state TV claimed 48 people had been killed in the attacks, but the report could not be independently verified. The U.S. military said 112 Tomahawk cruise missiles were fired from American and British ships and submarines at more than 20 coastal targets to clear the way for air patrols to ground Libya's air force. Thousands of regime supporters, meanwhile, packed into the sprawling Bab al-Aziziya military camp in Tripoli where Mr. Qadhafi lives to protect against attacks. Libyan TV quoted the armed forces command as saying 48 people were killed and 150 wounded in the allied assault. It said most of the casualties were children but gave no more details.