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French war planes pound Libyan targets

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French war planes pounded Libyan targets Saturday evening, the first foreign strikes enforcing a United Nations "no-fly" zone over Libya, following an emergency international summit in Paris earlier in the day.

A French military spokesman said his forces targeted a vehicle that was threatening civilians in Libya. But news reports say the French fighters destroyed four Libyan tanks near the eastern rebel stronghold of Benghazi.

Also Saturday, French President Nicholas Sarkozy announced that representatives of the U.N., European Union, Arab League and Western powers had agreed to use all necessary means, including military force, at their Paris summit.

He said they agreed to carry out provisions in the U.N. Security Council resolution approved on Thursday. The Council declared a "no-fly" zone over Libya and specifically authorized world powers to use "all measures necessary" to stop pro-Gadhafi forces from bearing down on rebels trying to bring down the government.

U.S. President Barack Obama reacted to developments in Paris shortly after the summit wrapped up. He said the allied consensus is strong, the resolve is clear and the Libyan people must be protected.

Later, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton commented from the ...summit, where she defended the world leaders' decision.

Clinton said that while there was talk of a cease-fire from Tripoli, the reality on the ground told a different story. Clinton said world powers believed that any further delay in action would put more Libyan civilians at risk.

Clinton added that French planes already were in the air above Libya as the group was meeting.

Separately, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced the formation of a naval blockade.

Earlier Saturday, pro-government forces in Libya advanced against rebels on two fronts. Insurgents in their eastern stronghold of Benghazi said government loyalists had been pushing forward in apparent disregard of the cease-fire Mr. Gadhafi declared on Friday.

There were also reports of fighting south of Benghazi in Adjabiya as well as in Misrata, a rebel-held city in western Libya near Tripoli.

Mr. Gadhafi had sent urgent messages to world leaders Saturday, including Mr. Obama and U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. In a letter read to reporters by a government spokesman in Tripoli, Mr. Gadhafi noted the rebels had seized control of Benghazi, and asked rhetorically how Mr. Obama would "behave" if there was a similar situation in the United States.

Addressing the U.N. secretary-general, Mr. Gadhafi said the Security Council's resolution on Libya is "invalid," and predicted that any Western action against Libya would be seen as "clear aggression."

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