Our efforts to prevent Muammar Ghadaffi’s air force from striking its own citizens from the air have taken a novel twist:
NATO warplanes attacked eight Libyan ships on Thursday night in three coastal locations, including the port of Tripoli, expanding the air campaign against what allied officials said was an increasing seaborne threat from Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi’s forces.
On Monday, allied warships thwarted an effort by Qaddafi loyalists to use small inflatable boats packed with high explosives to threaten ships carrying relief supplies to the contested port city of Misurata, 130 miles east of Tripoli, the capital.
That episode was the third time in recent weeks in which NATO forces had confronted pro-government maritime forces off the Libyan coast, after intercepting boats laying mines in Misurata’s harbor on April 29 and defeating an attack by small boats on the port last week.
The allied attacks late Thursday against Libyan vessels in the ports of Tripoli, Al Khums and Surt were the first time in the two-month-old air campaign that the alliance had carried out planned airstrikes against Libyan ships, military officials said. NATO warplanes have previously returned fire at Libya ships that shot at them.
Ships have bridges, and bridges have wings. It makes a kind of sense.