Greece has decided to allow NATO forces to use Greek bases in Souda and Aktio for military operations, if needed. The nation will offer up to four F16s of the Greek Air Force to help it patrol the no-fly zone.
A “massive” landing of ally fighter aircrafts is expected to take place in the major air bases of the Hellenic Air Forces within the next hours, to participate in air strikes against Libya.
The fighter aircrafts from foreign countries will use Greek air bases as ‘intermediate stops’ and not necessarily as bases from which they would take off to fly direct missions to Libya.
The air bases in Souda Bay, Araxos and Aktio have already undertaken this mission. However, due to the ‘‘hundreds of landings” (state NET TV), it is likely that the military bases in Kasteli (Crete), Andravida (Ilia/ Peloponnese) and even Tanagra (Viotia/ Sterea Ellada) will be also used.
Greece stated that it will let NATO forces use its military bases immediately after the UN Security Council “No Fly Zone” Resolution, but still seems unwilling to be used as a take off basis for bombardments. It is the first time that Greece will ‘welcome’ a massive influx of foreign aircrafts.
Some 5,000 Greek Communist Party supporters have marched in central Athens to protest the international military action against Libya.
Carrying banners with slogans such as “Imperialists out of Libya,” and “U.S.-E.U.-NATO Murder People,” the protesters marched from the Greek capital’s central Syntagma square to the U.S. Embassy before disbanding without incident.
Akrotiri: vital role in Libya operation
Akrotiri air base near Limassol was yesterday officially designated the British command centre for any international military operation on Libya, British bases authorities confirmed.
It has been named Operation Ellamy.
“RAF Akrotiri is supporting E3D surveillance aircraft, the AWACS, and they are keeping abreast of events in the area,” said bases spokesman Kristian Gray.
“Also deploying at Akrotiri is the Joint Force Air Component HQ, which is coordinating the movement of UK air assets in operational areas. HQ will be on Cyprus for as long as it’s required,” Gray added.
Gray declined to comment on how many, or what type of aircraft might be flown into Cyprus. In the early hours of yesterday, two AWACS were seen stationed on the tarmac at Akrotiri.
Amazing video with a ‘panorama’ view of coalition forces at Souda Bay from Cretalive.
Supporters of Col. Muammar Gaddafi remain defiant, forming a human shield around a Gaddafi camp in Tripoli. Video from Reuters.
See all the latest news from Greece and the world at Greekreporter.com. Contact our newsroom to report an update or send your story, photos and videos. Follow GR on Google News and subscribe here to our daily email!