"It's my judgment, however, that despite our successes to date, that Gadhafi and his forces are not yet in compliance with the United Nations Security Council resolution due to the continued aggressive actions his forces are placing on the civilian population," Adm. Samuel J. Locklear III, commander of U.S. Naval Forces Europe and Africa, told reporters at the Pentagon via phone from aboard the USS Mount Whitney.
"The no-fly zone is in place," Locklear said. "The no-fly zone is effective."
But Locklear also confirmed that the Libyan city of Misrata was under attack by pro-government forces. "We are considering all options as we look across the entire country of Libya," he said about plans to expand operations to protect other cities.
Libya has significant ground forces, but Locklear said he was less concerned about the country's air force, which was in "disrepair."
Coalition operations against Libya's armed forces started Friday with a barrage of cruise missile attacks intended to take out Libya's long-range air defense systems. Those attacks were followed by aircraft strikes.
Ham also made clear that strike aircraft are only flying in support of the U.N.-mandated no-fly zone and not providing direct support to rebel or opposition forces.
Locklear also addressed the crew members of a U.S. Air Force F-15E Strike Eagle, which crashed outside Benghazi today after an unidentified equipment malfunction. Both crew members have been recovered; one crew member was initially found by rebel forces, who treated him "with dignity and respect," Locklear said.
He declined to address reports that Libyans were fired upon during his rescue.