UK missiles fired at Libyan targets
A British submarine has fired Tomahawk cruise missiles on Libyan air defence targets as Prime Minister David Cameron sent UK armed forces into action against dictator Muammar Gaddafi.
The launch of UK operations was announced by Mr Cameron outside 10 Downing Street after he chaired a meeting of the Government's Cobra emergency committee.
Hailing the military action as "necessary, legal and right", the Prime Minister said: "We should not stand aside while this dictator murders his own people".
The Ministry of Defence said that the Trafalgar-class sub had fired a number of land-attack missiles.
Meanwhile, the US confirmed that it had fired four missiles in what the Pentagon said was a "carefully co-ordinated" joint operation with the UK, France, Spain and Canada known as Odyssey Dawn. More than 20 air defence systems on or near the coast had been struck, said a Pentagon spokesman.
Some 110 Tomahawk missiles were used in the attack on air-defence systems, which is the first stage of the allied operation, designed to suppress and degrade radar systems and surface-to-air missile sites in order to secure control of the airspace and reduce the threat to planes.
The UK submarine is understood to have been stationed in the Mediterranean for some time without being detected.
Mr Cameron said his thoughts were with British service personnel who were risking their lives to save others, and he added: "I believe we should all be confident that what we are doing is in a just cause and in our nation's interest."
Earlier, around 20 French Mirage and Rafale fighter planes went into action over the rebel stronghold of Benghazi, which had been subjected to intense bombardment by Gaddafi loyalists despite a ceasefire announced on Friday. The French fired the first shots of the operation, destroying tanks and armoured vehicles being used by forces loyal to Gaddafi.
Military action was launched following an emergency summit in Paris, at which 19 nations - including a number of Arab states - agreed that Gaddafi had flouted the terms of Thursday's United Nations resolution demanding an immediate end to violence and authorising "any necessary measure" short of foreign occupation.