- NEW: African Union leaders to meet May 25-26 on Libyan conflict
- Overnight airstrikes target ships in three Libyan ports
- NATO says Moammar Gadhafi was using naval assets to attack civilians
- Fighting is reported in several border areas
(CNN) — NATO jets pounded Libyan ports overnight, destroying eight of Moammar Gadhafi’s warships, an alliance spokesman said Friday.
NATO targeted the ships in Tripoli, Al-Khums and Sirte after it was apparent that Gadhafi’s forces were increasingly using naval vessels to launch attacks on civilians, said Mike Bracken, NATO’s military spokesman. He said Gadhafi was indiscriminately mining waters in Misrata and hampering the flow of humanitarian aid.
“He was using maritime forces to lay mines. These were legal targets,” Bracken said at a briefing in Brussels, Belgium.
He did not say whether crew members were aboard when the ships were hit.
Bracken said the NATO campaign is progressing and Gadhafi’s combat power had been severely curtailed.