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Tue 22 Mar 2011 10:14 AM

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Qatar fighter jets land at Crete base

US Admiral Samuel Locklear says Qatari aircraft will be 'up and flying' by the weekend

Qatar fighter jets land at Crete base
QATARI FIGHTER: Greece expects six fighter jets and a cargo plane from Qatar to land at a military base on the island of Crete by Tuesday (ADJ WEYER/AFP/Getty Images - For illustrative purposes only)
Qatar fighter jets land at Crete base
(AFP/Getty Images - For illustrative purposes only)

Two Qatari fighter jets and two

C-17 transport aircraft expected to participate in the no-fly

zone over Libya landed in Crete on Tuesday, a Greek defence

ministry official said.

US Admiral Samuel Locklear told reporters in Washington

that Qatari aircraft would be "up and flying" by the weekend.

European and US forces have sent warplanes against Libyan

targets under a UN Security Council resolution and Western

officials have said that Qatari aircraft would join the

operation enforcing a no-fly zone.

"Two Mirage fighter jets and two C-17 transport aircraft

from Qatar have landed at the military base in Souda," the

defence ministry official said.

Four other Qatari Mirage were expected at Souda but it was

not clear when they would arrive, the official said.

The United Arab Emirates have also requested refueling at

Souda base for 12 F-16 jets and 12 Mirage jets on their way to

Sicily, the official said, adding that none has arrived yet.

Cyprus, which hosts two British bases, has said it does not

want any involvement in military operations over Libya.

President Demetris Christofias said on Sunday that his

government opposed any use of the British bases on the island to

enforce the no-fly zone, but conceded it had no power to stop

their involvement.

Britain has sovereignty over the bases on Cyprus, a former

colony. British base authorities have said the facilities in

Cyprus were not being used to launch offensive strikes.

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