Vivian Salama
March 20, 2011

Middle Eastern leaders backed an offensive by international forces seeking to protect Libyan civilians as President Muammar Qaddafi said his country would become hell for the “monsters” attacking it.

Qatar’s Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad Bin Jasim Al Thani said the emirate will join the U.S., U.K., Canada, France and Italy against Libya, making it the first Arab country to commit military forces. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called Arab participation in talks in Paris yesterday “extraordinarily important” and said more can be expected from Middle East states.

“Patrolling the skies from afar is fine but they must not enter the country,” Osama Lamloum, 58, a sales manager at an Egyptian advertising firm, said in Cairo today. “How can someone bomb civilians? Enough bloodshed!”

Libya was pummeled yesterday by more than 110 Tomahawk cruise missiles in the first phase of an assault dubbed “Operation Odyssey Dawn.” The coalition struck after European, U.S. and Arab officials gathered in Paris yesterday to discuss the crisis. Leaders from the United Arab Emirates, Jordan, Iraq, Qatar and Morocco participated in yesterday’s talks.

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