US responds to Libyan Terror

President Reagan briefing Congress

On April 15th 1986 American planes attacked various targets in Libya. The attack was on military and terrorist training sites in Libya. The attack was a response to a terror attack on discotheque frequented by US soldiers in West Berlin. This was but one of a series of terror attack attributed to Libya. As a result, the Libyans scaled back their support for terrorist activities against Western targets.

From the time he took office, Libya was a significant concern of the Reagan Administration. It had been a major supporter of terrorism around the world and was one of the leading opponents of Israel.
In December 1985 19 people were killed by a terrorist in Rome and Vienna. Libyan leader Qaddafi vowed to continue to support terrorism even after the attack. On April 5, 1986, Le Belle nightclub in Berlin was bombed. Three people were killed, and 229 were injured. One of those killed was an American serviceman. German and American intelligence services had intercepted communications that proved that the Libyan government had directed the bombing.

On April 14th President Reagan ordered an attack on Libya. At 2 AM eighteen F-111 bombers dispatched from England began bombing an airfield in Tripoli a naval academy and the Ban al-Azizia barracks in Libya. At the same time, twenty-four naval aircraft from aircraft carriers USS Coral Sea and USS America bombed the Benina and Jamahiriya barracks, after first destroying the anti-aircraft sites in the area. Qaddafi was in the Ban al-Aziza barracks before it was attacked, but he was warned and left the site before was hit.

The attack killed 45 Libyan soldiers and up to 30 civilians. Five transports and 14 Mig 23’s plus two helicopters were destroyed. One American plane was downed with the loss of two crewmen.