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Originally published Monday, March 28, 2011 at 1:32 PM

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US using low-flying gunships in Libya

A top military official says the U.S. was striking Libyan targets with low-flying Air Force AC-130 gunships and A-10 Thunderbolts over the weekend, bolstering speculation that the U.S. air missions have served to support rebels seeking to overthrow Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi (MOO'-ah-mar gah-DAH'-fee).

AP National Security Writer

WASHINGTON —

A top military official says the U.S. was striking Libyan targets with low-flying Air Force AC-130 gunships and A-10 Thunderbolts over the weekend, bolstering speculation that the U.S. air missions have served to support rebels seeking to overthrow Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi (MOO'-ah-mar gah-DAH'-fee).

Vice Adm. William Gortney, staff director for the Joint Chiefs, insists that the U.S. is not coordinating attacks with the opposition forces or using airstrikes in direct support to help them gain ground. But U.S. strikes that pummeled Gadhafi forces over the past week clearly opened the door for the rebels to regroup and take back key cities.

The Thunderbolts and AC-130 gunships can fly lower over targets to provide close air support to ground troops. Previous U.S. fighter missions have been at much higher altitudes.

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