Global General

Loud blasts, anti-aircraft fire heard in Tripoli

Updated: 2011-03-23 04:50
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TRIPOLI - Loud explosions and intensive anti-aircraft fire were heard Tuesday night in the Libyan capital of Tripoli, which has been bombed by Western forces in recent days, a Xinhua reporter said.

The distant explosions, whose locations remained unknown to the moment, started at around 8:30 p.m. local time (1830 GMT), the reporter said, adding that shells trailing orange flames were then seen fired into the dark air.

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The blasts appeared to be a new round of US and European-led military strikes following similar operations starting Saturday that aimed to create a no-fly zone over Libya.

On Tuesday, French aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle has reportedly set reconnaissance operation in motion in Libya earlier in the day, and two Rafale jets conducted the mission with one sending back visual information of Libya and the other escorting the former's flight.

Meanwhile, Admiral Samuel Locklear, the US commander in charge of the Libya mission confirmed Tuesday that an F-15 fighter jet of the US military was down in Libya due to mechanical malfunctions, and two pilots were safe and rescued.

"One crew member was recovered by coalition forces. The other crew member was recovered by Libyan people. He was been treated with dignity and respect," Locklear added, saying he was looked after by rebel forces.

The admiral refused to provide more details and address a question as to whether troops opened fire on Libyans during the rescue operation. Both crew members are now in coalition hands.