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Second predator strike recorded in Libya

By the CNN Wire Staff
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U.S. launches drone strikes in Libya
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: Strike was delayed because of civilians nearby
  • At least two drone strikes have been confirmed in Libya
  • The latest struck an anti-aircraft system in Tripoli
  • The first hit a multiple rocket launcher in Misrata

(CNN) -- An unmanned predator drone struck a Libyan anti-aircraft system in Tripoli Saturday evening, a NATO spokesman said Sunday.

The spokesman said the drone hit an SA-8 anti-aircraft system, confirming the second such strike by NATO forces.

According to a NATO news release, the operators of the predator detected a number of civilians playing soccer near the missile, and the strike was delayed until the people had dispersed.

"Predator drones enhance NATO's ability to strike with care and precision," Rear Adm. Russ Harding, deputy commander of the operation, said. "These strikes will continue and we ask civilians in the affected regions to distance themselves from Gadhafi regime forces, installations and equipment whenever possible so we can strike with greater success and with the minimum risk to civilians."

The United States on Saturday confirmed a previous predator strike, which happened Saturday afternoon.

Keeping with U.S. practice not to comment on drone strikes, the Pentagon offered no other information.

The first strike destroyed a multiple rocket launcher belonging to Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi's regime in the vicinity of Misrata, NATO said. The rocket launcher had been used against civilians, NATO said.

The unmanned predator drones are the latest technology to be used in Libya as NATO carries out a U.N.-backed mission there to protect civilians and enforce a no-fly zone.

The United States has used such drones in other conflict zones, such as Afghanistan and Pakistan. They are designed to carry out precision bombings, and can also be used to collect intelligence.

CNN's Barbara Starr contributed to this report.

 
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