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Operation El Dorado Canyon (April 1986)

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« on: February 27, 2011, 08:55:40 am »

How Gaddafi survived Operation "El Dorado Canyon"
By Lorenzo Vidino

Over the last 22 years there have been many speculations over how Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi managed to escape the American bombing of his Bab al Aziziya compound on April 15th, 1986. The attack came after years of tensions between the two countries over Libya’s support of various terrorist outfits and was triggered by Tripoli’s alleged involvement in the April 5th, 1986, bombing of the La Belle club in West Berlin, which killed two American servicemen and a Turkish woman. Even though his 15-month-old adopted daughter Hanna was killed and two of his sons were injured, Gaddafi managed to escape the attack unharmed.

Former Italian Prime Minister Giulio Andreotti and current Libyan Foreign Minister Abdurrahman Shalgam have finally provided us with a good explanation for the escape. Speaking at a conference organized by the Italian Foreign Ministry, the two men stated that then Italian Prime Minister Bettino Craxi had forewarned Gaddafi of the attack. “Yes, that American attack was an improper initiative,” said Andreotti, “and I believe that Italy warned Libya about it.” Shalgam, at the time the Libyan ambassador to Italy, confirmed the story: “Craxi sent me a friend to tell me to watch out, that the 14th or the 15th of April there will be an American raid against Libya.” According to Shalgam, Craxi, who died in 2000, informed Libya “two days before the aggression, maybe the 11th or the 12th, he told us to be careful and that Italy would have not allowed overflight rights” to Americans to carry out the raid. Media reports in the past had also alleged that, on the night of April 15th, “then Maltese Prime Minister Karmenu Mifsud Bonnici phoned Gaddafi informing him that unauthorised planes were flying over Maltese air space, heading south towards Tripoli.”
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