The United States is to start using Predator Drones over Libya to focus on military targets belonging to Moammar Gadhafi and his forces. According to Defense Secretary Robert Gates, the use of the unmanned aircrafts will allow more precise attacks.
Gates's announcement came as Gadhafi's forces stepped up shelling the Western Libyan city of Misrata.
For weeks the city has been under heavy fire, resulting in large numbers of civilian deaths. NATO’s inability to stop the attacks with airstrikes, has become a symbol of the limits to the air defense mission.
Award-winning war photographer Tim Hetherington was killed in fighting in Misrata on Wednesday. In his last Twitter message, one day before his death, he wrote: “In besieged Libyan city of Misrata. Indiscriminate shelling by Gadhafi forces. No sign of NATO.”
On Thursday NATO put out a statement calling on civilians to stay away from Gadhafi’s troops and equipment, indicating that NATO plans to step up its strikes on ground targets.