American media outlets are reporting that the bombing of Libyan leader Colonel Gadhafi’s headquarters on Monday was carried out by two Norwegian F16 fighter jets.
Correspondent Richard Engels has made the claims on US television news network NBC. The communications chief of the Norwegian Defense Operations Headquarters, Petter Lindqvist, would not comment on individual missions, but confirmed to newspaper Aftenposten that Norwegian aircraft “took part during operations yesterday night.”
Lindqvist suggested that the country “normally participates with two to four airplanes per mission,” but did not know if the bombing was intended to hit Gadhafi himself. American authorities have rejected criticism from Gadhafi’s spokespeople that this was an attempt to assassinate the Libyan leader, which would have gone beyond the boundaries set for the military operations by UN resolution 1973. According to Engels and NBC, the attack seemed to have hit non-military targets, such as a library and an office complex.
The Libyan authorities themselves have stated that three died and 45 were injured in the assault, 15 of them seriously, while more remain missing. They also confirmed that Colonel Gadhafi has previously used the office complex for ministerial meetings, but was not affected by the bombing.
The latest news regarding Norway’s involvement comes after recent reports that Norway is among the countries most involved in the Libyan bombing missions, with Norwegian fighters responsible for dropping 12 percent of NATO bombs that have so far been used against Colonel Gadhafi’s forces. The Norwegian government has also held meetings with representatives of the Libyan rebels in Norway.