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Libyan crisis: Latest developments

Libyan rebels arrive at the frontline on the outskirts of the city of Ajdabiya, south of Benghazi, eastern Libya, Monday, March 21, 2011. The international military intervention in Libya is likely to last "a while," a top French official said Monday, echoing Moammar Gadhafi's warning of a long war ahead as rebels, energized by the strikes on their opponents, said they were fighting to reclaim a city under siege from the Libyan leader's forces.(AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus)
Anja Niedringhaus
    Libyan rebels arrive at the frontline on the outskirts of Ajdabiya, March 21, 2011.
    AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus


    Updated at 11:46 p.m. ET

  • (AP) Two explosions were heard in Tripoli before daybreak Wednesday.
  • The cost of Libya airstrikes could reach $800 million to completely establish the no-fly zone and $100 million more a week to keep it going, Zack Cooper, senior analyst for the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, told CNNMoney.com. So far, the U.S. has spent about $225 million launching missiles, CNN estimates based on U.S. Navy figures .
  • (AP) The Obama administration has identified 14 more oil companies owned by Libya's government and covered by U.S. sanctions. The Treasury Department says Libya's National Oil Corp. controls the companies. They're involved in oil exploration, production and sales. The U.S. already has frozen $32 billion in Libyan assets.

  • (AP) Libyan soldiers physically abused a team of New York Times journalists and threatened to kill them during the six days they were held in captivity, the newspaper said Tuesday.

  • (AP) France says it has agreed with the United States that NATO should have a role in coalition's military operations in Libya. A statement issued in Paris said that French President Nicolas Sarkozy and President Obama "agreed on the modalities of using the structures of the NATO command to support the coalition."

  • (AP) Heavy anti-aircraft fire is lighting up the skies over Tripoli and the sound of loud explosions is echoing through the Libyan capital after nightfall.

    The source of the explosions was not immediately clear, but the gunfire appeared to signal a fourth night of U.S. and European air operations over Libya on Tuesday to enforce a no-fly zone.

  • Two crew members ejected from a U.S. Air Force F-15E Strike Eagle when their aircraft experienced an equipment malfunction over northeast Libya. Both crew members survived with minor injuries, reports CBS News national security correspondent David Martin, and are safe.

    There is, however, some controversy after reports that American rescue forces fired upon civilians while retrieving one of the crew members.

    A high-ranking Navy officer tells CBS News Correspondent David Martin an investigation is underway into the reports. But during a briefing Tuesday, Admiral Samuel Locklear, refused to address the issue.

    According to several eyewitness accounts, a plane strafed the field where the pilot went down. Villager Hamid Moussa el-Amrun said that he himself was shot, suffering shrapnel wounds in his leg and back, but still able to walk. He used an old broomstick as a crutch and said he held no grudge, believing it was an accident.

    The reports of injuries were disputed, however.

    CBS's Mandy Clark arrived at the scene and spoke to an eyewitness, who said there was some firing but absolutely no one was injured.

    "He said he would understand why there might be firing if the Americans were on the ground," Clark told CBS Radio News.

    "He certainly didn't think the shooting was against civilians , perhaps more of a warning firing to tell people to back off and stay away from the wreckage and to stay away from the pilot and the weapons officer," Clark said.

    Another witness told Clark that the Americans fired on their own plane that was down, perhaps in an effort to destroy it so none of the weaponry or technology could be seized by other forces.

    Witnesses told Clark that right after the plane crashed, there were flares shot by other planes, which can sometimes serve as a a warning for civilians to stay away from an area. These villagers were not aware of that.

    U.S. F-15 fighter jet down in Libya, crew "safe"

  • (AP) - The on-scene commander of the international coalition for Libya is confirming that civilians are under attack by government forces in Misrata, the North Africa nation's third largest city.

    U.S. Navy Adm. Samuel J. Locklear told Pentagon reporters Tuesday that the coalition is "considering all options" in light of the attacks, but he did not elaborate.

    Misrata is one of the cities that President Barack Obama has demanded that forces of leader Moammar Gadhafi retreat from.

  • (AP) - President Barack Obama's authority to order military action against Libya without congressional approval is being challenged, and congressional critics are using candidate Obama's words against him.

    In a Dec. 20, 2007, interview with The Boston Globe, Obama was asked about the president's constitutional authority to bomb Iran without seeking authorization from Congress.

    "The president does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation," Obama said four years ago. "As commander in chief, the president does have a duty to protect and defend the United States. In instances of self-defense, the president would be within his constitutional authority to act before advising Congress or seeking its consent."

    In a letter to Congress on Monday, Obama said he authorized the involvement of the U.S. military as part of a "multilateral response authorized under U.N. Security Council Resolution 1973."

    "I have directed these actions, which are in the national security and foreign policy interests of the United States, pursuant to my constitutional authority to conduct U.S. foreign relations and as Commander in Chief and Chief Executive," he said.

    Under the congressional War Powers Resolution, the president has the authority to launch U.S. actions for 60-90 days before seeking authorization from Congress. However, presidents have not always sought congressional approval, creating tensions between the two branches of government over the authority.

  • (AP) - The UN chief says that the international campaign to enforce a no-fly zone over Libya must continue until Moammar Gadhafi stops military action against his own people.

    U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says that "until he stops, I think that this military operation to enforce a no-fly zone will have to continue."

    Ban spoke during a visit Tuesday with post-revolutionary leaders in Tunisia, Libya's neighbor.

    Ban said that the military operation by an international coalition is neither interference in Libya's internal affairs nor "occupation by foreign forces." It is "simply protecting the civilian population."

    He added that "the first and foremost thing should come from Col. Gadhafi. He must stop killing his own people."

  • (AP) - France's prime minister says the country has received unspecified threats after taking a key role in the allied military campaign against Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi's forces.

    Francois Fillon says France's role in the multinational effort aimed at stopping attacks against Libyan civilians "can have domestic repercussions," and that French intelligence services have been mobilized.

    Fillon said Tuesday "threats were made" against France, but did not elaborate. He spoke at the start of a parliamentary debate over the country's role in Libya.

    France along with the United States, Britain and other European countries - with backing from Arab countries - has been leading the charge with air strikes and missile attacks against Qaddafi's forces since Saturday.

  • (AP) - Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi must step down after "murdering his own people" with military attacks against opponents, retired U.S. Gen. Colin Powell said Tuesday.

    "I hope that Col. Qaddafi will soon come to the realization that murdering his own people is not a solution and that it is time for him to step aside," said Powell, who was senior military assistant to Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger during U.S. airstrikes on Libya in 1986.

    Powell later served in many roles that involved assessing Qaddafi's regime, including as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Secretary of State.

    He said the new governments on either side of Libya - Tunisia and Egypt - could serve as models for the region on bringing about democratic change, "if it is done properly."

    "The most powerful force at work today in the world is economic development and creation of wealth," said Powell, speaking at a regional security conference. "It is economic development and wealth creation that will lift people out of poverty, provide an education to young people, and create jobs for people."

    Powell predicted only governments "wise enough to reform themselves" can easily ride out the wave of change in the Arab world, but he gave no specific examples.

  • (AP) - CNN is angrily denying that correspondent Nic Robertson and other journalists were used by the Libyan government as human shields against an attack on Muammar Qaddafi's compound.

    Fox News correspondent Jennifer Griffin reported Monday that the British military had to call off an attack on the Libyan ruler's compound because journalists had been taken there on a trip to view earlier bomb damage. She says Fox correspondent Steve Harrigan avoided the government-sponsored trip because of concern about being used as a shield.

    An angry Robertson took to the air on CNN and called the allegation "outrageous and absolutely hypocritical." He says Fox sent a security guard with a camera on the same trip.

    Griffin apologized for not noting the Fox presence, but stood by the human shields charge.

  • At a briefing by the British Defense Ministry this morning, Maj. Gen. John Lorimer said the launch of allied military operations is having "a very real effect protecting Benghazi from Col. Qaddafi's forces." Lorimer said Qaddafi's attack on the city and its population has been stopped in its tracks. "That is not to say that all threat to life has been removed. It has not," he said.

    "One need only consider the mosque in western Tripoli," he said. "This area was in a place where heavy fighting took place earlier this month. The mosque was raised to the ground. This is a sign of how far Col. Qaddafi is willing to go."

  • As of March 21, more than 323,000 total migrants have fled the violence in Libya. About half - more than 160,000 - arrived at the Tunisian border. Approximately 141,000 crossed the Egyptian border, 6,000 into Nigeria, and 9,000 at the Algerian border.
  • A Youtube video posted by an anti-Qaddafi group in Misrata dated March 21 appears to show the effects of the government's shelling of the city.

    Another GRAPHIC Youtube video dated March 20 claims to show victims of Qaddafi forces' attack on Misrata.

  • Six Norwegian F-16s and a C-130 departed Norway to participate in the international military effort in Libya.
  • The U.S. said its role in Operation Odyssey Dawn is shifting from strikes on Muammar Qaddafi's air defenses to widening a no-fly zone across the North African country, while setting the stage for a humanitarian relief mission.

    A senior defense official said Monday the attacks thus far had reduced Libya's air defense capabilities by more than 50 percent.

    Rate of attacks on Libya air defenses slows
    Complete coverage: Anger in the Arab World

  • With a non-fly zone effectively put into place over Libya, Sen. John McCain says momentum in the fighting between the Muammar Qaddafi regime and rebel fighters can now swing back to anti-Qaddafi forces, but acknowledges they will need more weapons and better training.

    McCain, R-Ariz., said on CBS' "The Early Show" that he hopes the United States, or others in the international community, supplies rebels with arms, as it once did insurgents fighting the Russian occupation of Afghanistan.

    McCain: I hope U.S. arms Libyan rebels

  • AJDABIYA, Libya - Muammar Qaddafi's forces lobbed artillery shells at rebels regrouping outside this strategic eastern city, forcing a band of fighters to scatter and signaling a prolonged battle. "Qaddafi is killing civilians inside Ajdabiya," said Khaled Hamid, a rebel who claimed to have been in Qaddafi's forces but defected to the rebels' side. "Today we will enter Ajdabiya, God willing."


    Rebels, Qaddafi forces face standoff on ground

  • A CBS News survey shows that half of Americans approve of how President Obama is handling the situation in Libya, and just 29 percent disapprove. One in five said they did not have an opinion.Poll: Obama's disaster management gets solid marks