World

NATO helicopters again strike Libyan targets

British attack helicopters launched air raids for a second night in the campaign against Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi's forces.
A British Apache helicopter takes off from the deck of the HMS Ocean in the Mediterranean Sea, off Libya on Saturday, as part of the NATO-led mission against forces loyal to Moammar Gadhafi. (British Ministry of Defense/Associated Press)

British attack helicopters launched air raids for a second night in the campaign against Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi's forces.

Apache helicopters destroyed a multiple rocket launcher near Brega early Sunday, NATO said.

The coastal city was the scene of raids carried out by French and British helicopters for the first time on Saturday.

A Libyan government official said NATO jets struck a military barracks in the capital, Tripoli, but there were no injuries because the facility had been abandoned due to earlier airstrikes.

Meanwhile, NATO official said Royal Air Force Tornados fired eight missiles into a surface-to-air missile depot in Tripoli. The attacks also hit military sites in the town of Tajoura, west of Tripoli.

NATO's air campaign in Libya began late March to counter attacks against civilian targets by forces loyal to Gadhafi. Since then, NATO aircraft have conducted a total of 9,778 sorties, including 3,694 strike sorties.

Canada's air mission reaches 400-mark 

Canada, with aircraft stationed at an air base in southern Italy, has participated in about 400 flights as part of the NATO mission, the CBC's David Common reported.

"A lot of [the sorties] are strikes, bombing runs on Libya," Common said.

"When they go, they sometimes have a target, but not all the time. If they have one, it's often an ammunition depot. they showed a video of a bomb strike on one, a huge explosion and then secondary explosions because you're blowing up explosives."

By intensifying attacks from the air and using helicopters to target government forces who melt into the civilian population for cover, NATO is providing a major boost to Libyan rebel forces who have seized much of the country's east and toeholds in the west and are attempting to end Gadhafi's 42-year rule.

Emboldened rebels in recent days have forced government troops from three western towns and broke the siege of a fourth.

With files from David Common and The Associated Press

now