Soldiers flee Libya helicopter strikes

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The Independent Online

Dramatic video footage shows Muammar Gaddafi's soldiers fleeing as deadly UK Apache attack helicopters carry out daring raids deep inside Libya.

Army pilots used Hellfire missiles and cannon fire to destroy a communications facility and military pick-up trucks overnight on Saturday, the Ministry of Defence said.

Having launched from HMS Ocean, the Apaches targeted a concentration of Gaddafi's troops at Al Watiyah, 40 miles inland from the north-western port of Zuwarah.

Video taken from an on-board camera shows one helicopter destroying three pick-up trucks at a vehicle check point.

The pilot waits to allow the Libyan soldiers to get clear before launching Hellfire missiles at the trucks.

Other clips released by the MoD show the Apaches destroying a truck with a rear-mounted surface-to-air missile launcher and knocking out a military communications centre.

Senior military spokesman Major General Nick Pope said: "These clips show a fraction of what the Apaches accomplished that night.

"Overall, that mission accounted for a communications facility and damaged or destroyed sixteen military vehicles in a fairly small area.

"It will also have had a psychological impact on the former regime elements manning other check points in the area.

"They will have heard the helicopters, seen the explosions and heard soon after from those who fled the scene."

Other footage released by the MoD today shows RAF jets using Paveway guided bombs to target a Libyan tank and a multiple rocket launcher in the eastern town of Brega on Sunday, and a frigate in Tripoli harbour overnight on Monday.