Libya: Shootout over the Med

A challenge to Gaddafi draws fire—and swift U.S. retaliation

The scene was the south central Mediterranean Sea, where naval maneuvers by elements of the U.S. Sixth Fleet were under way. The participants were the men and warships of Task Force 60, an armada comprising two aircraft carriers, the U.S.S. Nimitz and U.S.S. Forrestal, and 14 support ships. The purpose of the operation: a two-day "open-ocean missile exercise" in one of the less crowded regions of the Mediterranean. At dawn Tuesday, while the bulk of the task force stood at least 100 miles off the African coastline, two destroyers slipped into...

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