Britain says only attacking military targets in Libya

LONDON, March 20, 2011 (AFP) - The British government said Sunday it was taking "every precaution" to avoid killing civilians in its attacks on Libya, as Libyan state media said civilian targets in Tripoli were bombed.

"We should treat with some caution some of the things we see on Libyan state television," Finance Minister George Osborne told BBC television.

"Because I know that our military planners are taking absolutely every precaution to try and avoid civilian casualities.

"The targets last night were very specifically military targets connected with the Libyan air defence system."

Britain bombarded Libya with missiles from air and sea overnight Saturday as part of international action against Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi's forces, following a United Nations resolution authorising a no-fly zone.

An US F18 plane takes off the Aviano air base in Italy on March 20, 2011. The US, Britain and France pounded Libya with Tomahawk missiles and air strikes into the early hours of Sunday. AFP

Libyan state media said Western warplanes had bombed civilian targets in Tripoli, causing casualties. An army spokesman said strikes also hit fuel tanks feeding the rebel-held city of Misrata, east of Tripoli.

"Our operation was specifically targeted at the air defence network to take that down so that there can be a no-fly zone so that other countries can take part in that no-fly zone," Osborne said.

He added: "The immediate task is to enforce the United Nations' will.

"And without speculating too much about what is happening today, it seems very clear that Colonel Kadhafi was making an attempt to occupy Benghazi... and was not able to do that. So we've already had some effect."

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