United Nations: The United Nations Security Council voted Thursday to authorize military action, including airstrikes against Libyan tanks and heavy artillery and a no-fly zone, a risky foreign intervention aimed at averting a bloody rout of rebels by forces loyal to Col. Muammar el-Gaddafi.
After days of often acrimonious debate, played out against a desperate clock, as Colonel Gaddafi's troops advanced to within 100 miles of the rebel capital of Benghazi, Libya, the Security Council authorized member nations to take "all necessary measures" to protect civilians, diplomatic code words calling for military action.
Diplomats said the resolution -- which passed with 10 votes, including the United States, and abstentions from Russia, China, Germany, Brazil and India -- was written in sweeping terms to allow for a wide range of actions, including strikes on air-defence systems and missile attacks from ships. Military activity could get under way within a matter of hours, they said.
Benghazi erupted in celebration at news of the resolution's passage. "We are embracing each other," said Imam Bugaighis, spokeswoman for the rebel council in Benghazi. "The people are euphoric. Although a bit late, the international society did not let us down.">>>
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