British Warplanes Attack, Sink Gadhafi Tugboat

Tugboat Carried Troops Fleeing Captured City of Zawiya

British warplanes attacked a sunk a small Libyan tugboat carrying fleeing Gadhafi troops today off the coast of Zawiya, in what officials said was a laser-guided bombing. NATO confirmed that the troops were being taken away from the city, which is currently under rebel control, at the time of the attack.

British officials cheered the sinking as a “direct hit” and insisted that even if the troops were leaving Zawiya they “continue to pose a threat to the local population” and that this was why they were attacked.

So far NATO has been mum on how many troops were killed in the attack but hinted there may have been survivors, saying they made a “rescue attempt” after spotting some of the troops swimming toward a nearby buoy. They didn’t say if the attempt was successful or not.

Rebel forces took control of Zawiya earlier this week and finally took control over the city’s oil refinery from regime troops yesterday. It was unclear if the troops attacked were from the oil refinery or if they had fled from the periphery of the city.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.