NATO delays airstrike, asks civilians to move away from military installations
NAPLES -- NATO destroyed an SA-8 surface-to-air missile yesterday evening at 2040 GMT in Tripoli using the Predator Unmanned Aerial Surveillance weapon system. The operators of the Predator were able to detect a number of civilians playing football near the missile and firing was delayed until the people had dispersed.
“This Predator strike is a perfect example of the complex and fluid situation that NATO air forces are facing every day as part of Operation Unified Protector. NATO will continue to do everything in its power to prevent harm to the civilian population,” said Rear Admiral Russ Harding, Deputy Commander of Operation Unified Protector. “Predator drones enhance NATO’s ability to strike with care and precision.”
“These strikes will continue and we ask civilians in the affected regions to distance themselves from Qadhafi regime forces, installations and equipment whenever possible so we can strike with greater success and with the minimum risk to civilians,” said Rear Admiral Harding.
NATO aircraft have conducted nearly 3600 sorties of which nearly 1500 were strike sorties.
NATO Operation Unified Protector is mandated under United Nations Security Resolution 1973 to protect civilians from attack using any means necessary.