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Gaddafi still in Libya, says Pentagon

Last updated on: August 23, 2011 10:25 IST

Gaddafi still in Libya, says Pentagon

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Lalit K Jha in Washington

Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi is still believed to be inside the country, even as the rebel forces have entered the capital Tripoli, the Pentagon has said.

"It is probably fair to say we believe he's still in the country. We do not have information that he's left the country," Pentagon spokesman Col Dave Lapan told mediapersons.

Lapan ruled out the possibility of American troops on the ground, saying that it there is one, it would be that of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation or the United Nations.

"If there's going to be some type of transitional mission, that remains to be seen, whether it comes out of the UN or NATO. But we still do not plan any US forces going on the ground in Libya," he said.

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Image: Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi

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Pentagon spent $896 million through July

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More than 5,300 American sorties have been flown as part of Operation Unified Protector; 1,210 were strike sorties and 101 were Predator unmanned aerial vehicle strikes. The targets included air defenses, arms caches and ground forces.

So far the Pentagon has spent about $896 million through July 31, in its various military operations related to Libya. This cost includes amounts for daily military operations, munitions used in the operation, and humanitarian assistance.

From the beginning of the NATO operation through August 19, the United States has sold participating allies and partners about $221.9 million worth of ammunition, repair parts, fuel and technical assistance, Lapan said.

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Image: Vehicles belonging to forces loyal to Gaddafi explode after a NATO air strike, along a road between Benghazi and Ajdabiyah
Photographs: Goran Tomasevic/Reuters
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Pentagon says it will continue to provide aid

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The department has spent about half of a $25 million to get non-lethal aid to the rebel's Transitional National Council. It has expended about $12.5 million of the $25 million draw-down authority for non-lethal aid to Libya, which includes approximately $1 million for Meals Ready to Eats.

"Remember, this is not money we've spent, or cost to the DoD. This is the value of the aid only. We have received no additional requests at this time but will continue to work with the TNC to determine what additional assistance they may need," he said.

In his speech earlier in the day, Obama praised the efforts of American service members for their contributions to the effort over Libya and in the Mediterranean.

"We also pay tribute to Admiral Sam Locklear (commander of Allied Joint Force Command), and all of the men and women in uniform who have saved so many lives over the last several months, including our brave pilots," he said.

Image: Aircrafts are seen on the deck of France's flagship Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier in the Mediterranean. The Charles de Gaulle ran 47 air sorties against targets in Libya as France participates in the NATO no-fly zone
Photographs: Reuters
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