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US to withdraw warplanes from Libya

world Updated: Apr 05, 2011 01:21 IST

AP
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NATO says the US military is pulling its warplanes from front-line missions Monday and shifting to a support role in the Libyan conflict.

Britain, France and other NATO allies will now provide the fighter and attack jets to conduct intercept and ground attack missions. The hand-over is expected to take place late in the day, said a NATO official who spoke on condition of anonymity because of regulations.

Last week, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates told Congress the US will continue to provide assets that others don't have in sufficient numbers. These will likely include AWACS air surveillance planes, electronic reconnaissance aircraft and aerial refueling tankers.

American air power will still be available to back up the allies in case of need.