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Pentagon: 112 missiles fired on Libya thus far

Sites of coalition missile strikes in Libya
Sites of coalition missile strikes in Libya on Saturday, March 19, 2011. CBS News

In initial United Nations-authorized action against Libyan military targets, thus far French jets have struck military targets inside Libya and about 112 missiles have been fired from U.S. and British ships against air defense systems.

Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications Ben Rhodes said today at a press briefing that this is just the beginning of a multi-phase operation.

"The goals of these initial operations are essentially twofold: First, to prevent further attacks on Libyan citizens and opposition groups, especially in and around Benghazi; and second, to degrade the regime's capability to resist the no-fly zone we are implementing under (the) United Nations resolution (authorizing intervention,)" Rhodes said. "To that end, (the missile attack) struck more than 20 integrated air defense systems and other air defense facilities ashore."

Rhodes told reporters that there are no U.S. jets over Libya right now. He said the first goal is to make the enforcement of a no-fly zone easier and safer by crippling Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi's air defense systems.

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Perhaps playing to the unwelcomed comparisons between Iraq and Libya, Rhodes joined President Barack Obama in reassuring reporters at his briefing that no ground troops are involved in the planned operations in North Africa.

"We are not going to use force to go beyond a well-defined goal, specifically the protection of the civilians in Libya," Rhodes said.

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