UAE warplanes in Sardinia ahead of dispatch to Libya

UAE warplanes begin gathering in Sardinia ahead of flight operations over Libya.

epa02657002 An UAE (United Arab Emirates) fighter plane lands on the tarmac at the Nato airbase in Decimomannu, Sardinia island, Italy, 27 March 2011. Since March 19, a US-led coalition that includes Britain and France has been taking out Libyan air defences and ground forces in order to enforce a United ations-imposed no-fly zone to protect civilians. Qatar and the United Arab Emirates have so far been the only Arab countries to actively join the international military action by contributing jets.  EPA/GIUSEPPE UNGARI *** Local Caption ***  02657002.jpg

ABU DHABI // UAE fighter jets due to help patrol the Libyan no-fly zone began arriving in Sardinia on Sunday.

The Emirates pledged six F-16s and six Mirage warplanes to the coalition, although it is not yet known when they will begin flight operations over the North African nation.

The UAE and Qatar are the only Arab countries to join the coalition with warplanes in patrolling the no-fly zone over Libya. The decision to involveUAE aircraft in the coalition was announced last Friday by the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed.

The UN Security Council passed a resolution two weeks ago allowing the use of all necessary measures short of a ground invasion to protect Libyan civilians from Col Muammar Qaddafi's forces. Rebels have engaged in fierce fighting with Col Qaddafi's troops as they attempt to bring an end to four decades of rule by the Libyan leader.