NATO running short of ammunition to carry out Libyan operations

Washington, Apr 16: NATO is running short of crucial ammunition like precision bombs following less than a month into the Libyan conflict, indicating the limitations of the participating European Union nations in sustaining the military action over an extended period of time, NATO and U.S. officials have said.

Some officials have raised doubts whether the US can continue to avoid returning to its air campaign amid the ongoing crisis of ammunition, including limited number of aircrafts, if Libyan leader Colonel Muammar Gaddafi clings on to power for some more months, The Washington Post reports.

They also said that European arsenals of laser-guided bombs, the NATO weapon of choice in the Libyan campaign, have been quickly depleting, and that although the United States has significant stockpiles, its munitions do not fit on the British-and French-made planes.

The paper quoted a senior US administration official as saying that he expects other countries to announce their willingness to contribute aircraft equipped with the laser-guided munitions "in the next few days".

It was also reported earlier in the day that Gaddafi's forces were firing cluster bombs into residential neighborhoods, which have been banned by much of the world, in their bid to overtake Misrata.

Human Rights Watch has also confirmed that its researchers inspected remnants and interviewed witnesses, and found that such weapons were used.

The Libyan government has however denied that such weapons were used. spokesman for the Misurata City Council has urged NATO to send ground troops to secure the port. Besides, the opposition has also repeatedly called for an increase in NATO airstrikes.

Earlier this week, the six countries conducting the air attacks, led by Britain and France, were unsuccessful in persuading more alliance members to join them during a meeting in Berlin.

Copyright Asian News International/