WASHINGTON - The US Defense Department said Thursday that new attacks were conducted against Libyan air defense and other military targets, while the United States is looking to transfer control of the mission to the coalition.
Bill Gortney, director of the US Joint Staff, told a Pentagon briefing that the attacks were conducted by both fighter jets and missiles. He said 14 Tomahawk missiles were launched against Libyan air defense sites.
According to Gortney, coalition fighter jets continued to target Libyan air defense missile sites, communication nodes, command centers and ammunition depots.
While the attacks continue, Gortney voiced hope that the control of the campaign could be handed over to the coalition by this weekend, saying "the coalition is growing in both size and capability every day."
He said coalition planes flew all no-fly zone patrols during the past 24 hours, which are aimed at preventing Libyan planes from taking off, while US planes flew other missions.
But the handover might be tricky, as the United States has the most planes in the mission, despite the absence of U.S. aircraft carriers. Gortney said more than 350 aircraft are now taking part in coalition operations against Libya, slightly over half of them American.
Gortney said after the handover, the U.S. military will continue to provide some unique capability to the coalition, including aerial refueling, intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance, as well as interdiction strike packages, which can mean jamming and electronic warfare. He expects US planes to fly some combat missions after the handover.