Libyans May Have Hurt Their Own People With Missile Fire

Associated Press

The commander of the U.S. 6th Fleet said today he is surprised that Libyan planes weren't used to counter the U.S. strike on Libya, and airmen who participated in the raids said Libya may have inflicted damage on its own citizens with badly aimed anti-aircraft missiles.

U.S. pilots and bombardiers who participated in the strikes said that plenty of surface-to-air missiles were fired at them by the Libyans--but that most seemed to go straight up in the air and fall back down again.

They said they saw no Libyan planes and had expected more of a Libyan response.

Safely back aboard the U.S. aircraft carrier America, the airmen suggested that much of the damage caused by the strike probably came from the Libyans themselves and their poorly aimed missiles.

The airmen and the fleet commander, Adm. Frank B. Kelso, spoke to a pool of reporters aboard the America, one of two U.S. carriers that launched planes against Libya.

Kelso said he is surprised that Moammar Kadafi didn't send up planes to counteract the U.S. strike on Tripoli and Benghazi.

Libya's ability to fly nighttime missions is thought to be limited, and that is believed to be why the American jets struck at night.

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