Should Britain take military action in Libya?

Last night anti-aircraft fire rose over Tripoli as UK forces took part in a second night of missile strikes against Libya

Colonel Muammar Gaddafi’s government ordered a ceasefire on Friday, but broke its word within hours, prompting the international coalition, including the UK, France and US, to authorize the first attacks on Saturday afternoon in an attempt to protect civilians.

Tomahawk missiles were launched from a British submarine in the Mediterranean, but RAF Tornado bombers were forced to abort their mission on reports that civilians were in the target area.

The missile strike destroyed a building in the Libyan capital of Tripoli, which Western forces believe was one of the dictator’s command centres but US officials claim Colonel Gaddafi himself is not a target of the air strikes, which are aimed at armed forces and air defense systems.

Foreign Secretary William Hague told the BBC the decision to cancel the Tornado strikes showed Britain took the greatest care to avoid civilian casualties, but a Libyan official suggested 64 people had been killed over the weekend.

The military action follows the passing of the UN resolution, which imposed a ban on all flights in Libyan airspace and authorised member states to take all necessary measures to ensure civilian safety.

A number of Hercules aircraft have left RAF Coningsby in Lincolnshire, thought to be heading to the Mediterranean with equipment and supplies, and two Royal Navy ships are taking part in a naval blockade. UK Typhoon jets are also on standby in Italy.

Qatar is sending four planes to join the international coalition to enforce the UN mandated no-fly zone, making it the first Arab country to play an active role in the campaign against Gaddafi. Other Arab countries are preparing to join ranks against the dictator.

In a joint news conference with visiting UN Secretary General Ban Kimoon in Cairo, Arab League Secretary General Amr Moussa, who supports the UN resolution, stated: ‘We are all united on the issue of protecting civilians.’

Do you agree with the air strikes? Is military action the only way to protect civilians? Should Britain be getting involved in yet another war? Whatever your thoughts, however extreme, Marie Claire wants to hear from you below.

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