The United States launched its first predator drone strike in Libya on Saturday, the Defense Department said in a statement.
It did not provide details on the target of the strike, saying only that it occurred in the early afternoon local time in Libya.
Gates announced on Thursday that the unmanned aircraft would be used in Libya for Hellfire missile attacks on the forces of leader Muammar Gaddafi.
General James Cartwright, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the US plan called for keeping two patrols of armed Predators above Libya at any given time, permitting better surveillance -- and targeting -- of Gaddafi's forces.
The drones are based in the region but typically flown by remote control by pilots in the United States.
The US military has been using other drones to target militants along Pakistan's border with Afghanistan. The drones in Libya were not taken from Afghanistan, US officials said.