OTTAWA - Canadian CF-18 Hornet fighter jets have bombed an ammunition depot in northern Libya in the first attack by Canadian aircraft to enforce the United Nations no-fly zone over Libya, a senior officer said here Wednesday.
Four CF-18 fighters, supported by two CC-150 air-to-air refueling aircraft, used several laser-guided 226-kilogram bombs to destroy the target in the northern city of Misrata on Tuesday night, Maj.-Gen. Tom Lawson, assistant chief of the air staff, told a press conference at the National Defense Headquarters.
Canada has so far deployed a total of six CF-18s at a base in Trapani, Italy with two CC-150 air-to-air refueling aircraft as well as approximately 140 supporting Forces personnel.
Another half-dozen CF-18 fighters are on standby for deployment if needed by coalition forces.
Canada's fighter jets last took part in such a mission in 1999 when they joined the NATO bombardment of the former Yugoslavia.
Earlier in March, Canada deployed its frigate HMCS Charlottetown, with 240 crew equipped with a Sea King helicopter, in the waters off Libya.
It also has deployed one C-17 Globemaster strategic transportation aircraft and two C-130J Hercules tactical transportation aircraft as well as a military reconnaissance team of 13 soldiers in Malta on a mission to assist in evacuating Canadians from the troubled North African nation.
In total, Canada's military personnel in the region so far are more than 400 people.
The Canadian navy is also helping enforce an arms embargo against Libya as NATO warships have started patrolling areas off Libya's coast, Commodore John Newton, assistant chief of the maritime staff, told reporters.
"HMCS Charlottetown has been doing surveillance in the area since March 14," Newton said.
NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said Tuesday that NATO ships and aircraft in the central Mediterranean would conduct operations to monitor, report and, if needed, interdict vessels suspected of carrying illegal arms or mercenaries.
The UN Security Council on March 17 adopted Resolution 1973 to authorize a no-fly zone over Libya and called for "all necessary measures," excluding troops on the ground, to protect civilians under threat of attack in the North African country.