U.S. Military Jet Crashes in Libya, Crew Ejects

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A U.S. Air Force F-15 Strike Eagle jet has crashed in Libya, the U.S. military said Tuesday.

Officials said two crew members ejected from the stricken aircraft. One has been safely recovered and the military was on a mission to recover the other one.

The surgical air strikes against Moammar Gadhafi's pro-government forces has otherwise been a success. However, it's not clear whether Libyan rebels can take advantage of the newly created no-fly zone.

Chris Mitchell, CBN News Middle East Bureau Chief, gave more insight to the no-fly zone on the CBN News Channel's Morning program, March 22. Click play to watch the interview.

The international coalition has shifted the focus of the no-fly zone. It has expanded from the eastern part of the country west to the Gadhafi-controlled capital of Tripoli. Yet, the U.S. insists Gadhafi himself is not a target.

"I don't know much about the location of the Libyan leader nor have we expanded any military effort in that regard," said Gen. Carter Ham of the U.S. Africa Command.

The efforts so far have focused on destroying Libyan air defenses and stopping Gadhafi's ground forces from advancing toward the rebel stronghold of Benghazi.

"We have not observed Libyan military operating since the beginning of coalition-led military operations," Gen. Ham said.

But how long will the coalition stay together to help the rebels?

The United Arab Emirates have opted out of sending fighter jets. Norway has also decided not to participate.

Italy originally said it would open its bases to coalition countries. Now it wants to make sure NATO is put in charge of the mission, which is something France opposes.

During his trip to Chile, President Barack Obama said the coalition is committed to preventing atrocities in Libya.

"Democracy can't be imposed from the outside," Obama said. "It must spring from within."

Libyan rebels have been clearly energized by the coalition strikes, but major concerns remain about their identity -- and what kind of Libya they want.

"There is cause for concern," said Richard Downie, a fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. "We don't know who we are dealing with -- only time will tell."

The U.S. is hoping to decrease its role in the coalition and said other countries will soon announce their participation.

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Heather Sells

Heather Sells

CBN News Reporter

Heather Sells enjoys reporting on a variety of issues for CBN News. Some of her recent stories have focused on religious liberties, technology, AIDS, overseas missions, domestic trafficking, and politics.  Follow Heather on Twitter @SellsHeather and "like" her at Facebook.com/HeatherSellsCBNNews.