Statement by Principal Deputy Press Secretary Speakes on the United States Air Strike Against Libya

April 14, 1986

U.S. military forces this evening have executed a series of carefully planned air strikes against terrorist-related targets in Libya. These strikes have been completed and our aircraft are returning. Libya bears direct responsibility for the bombing in West Berlin on April 5 that resulted in the death of Army Sergeant Kenneth Ford and injury to a number of American servicemen and others. In light of this reprehensible act of violence and clear evidence that Libya is planning future attacks, the United States has chosen to exercise its right of self-defense. It is our hope this action will preempt and discourage Libyan attacks against innocent civilians in the future.

U.S. forces struck targets that were part of Qadhafi's terrorist infrastructure: the command and control systems, intelligence, communications, logistics, and training facilities. These are sites which allow Qadhafi to perpetrate terrorist acts. In addition to the strikes at terrorist centers, the President also authorized limited defense suppression missions in order to defend our own forces engaged in this mission. Every effort was made to avoid civilian casualties and limit collateral damage and to avoid casualties to those American servicemen who are participating. The President will address the Nation from the Oval Office at 9 p.m., eastern standard time.

Note: Larry M. Speakes read the statement to reporters at 7:22 p.m. in the Briefing Room at the White House.