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LIBYA: Arab League head criticizes airstrikes as Western forces impose no-fly zone

March 20, 2011 |  7:40 am

Libyan strikes

A coordinated attack by Western forces targeting Libyan air capabilities and armor appears to have succeeded in damaging Libyan military installations and armor, but Arab support for the no-fly zone may be waning.

Arab League head Amr Moussa told reporters Sunday that the Arab league thought the use of force was excessive following an overnight bombing campaign that Libya claims killed at least 48 people.

"What we want is civilians' protection, not shelling more civilians," he was quoted saying by the Associated Press.

The Los Angeles Times' Borzou Daragahi reported on Saturday night's bombing campaign from a rooftop in Tripoli (audio link) where heavy anti-aircraft fire could be heard from Kadafi's forces on the ground.

U.S., British and French forces sought to seriously limit Kadafi's ability to advance on rebel-held cities, but Al Jazeera reported on Sunday that Kadafi's forces continued to shell the rebel-held city of Misurata.

As of Sunday afternoon, conflicting reports had emerged on whether Kadafi's advance on Benghazi, the seat of the rebel movement, had been halted.

Statements from U.S. and British military officials on Sunday claimed a no-fly zone had been successfully imposed.

-- Meris Lutz in Beirut

Photo: A loyalist soldier was killed in a French airstrike outside the rebel-held city of Benghazi. Credit: Finbarr O'Reilly/Reuters