The Address | Benghazi – Libya
LONDON – In 1986, the British authorities had plans to respond to a possible Libyan attack on Gibraltar, British newspaper The Times revealed city a declassified report.
Britain’s Secretary of State for Defense, George Younger, was preparing for a possible attack of Libya against Gibraltar in response to the support of Margaret Thatcher bombing of Tripoli and Benghazi in 1986, reveals The Times referring to a declassified document.
“As a result of US military action against Libya, there is an increased risk of Libyan attack against British targets,” reads the document previously classified as ‘top secret’.
According to the report , the British authorities believed that Libya could use its Tu-22 bombers delivered by the USSR to strike Gibraltar with five 1,000-kilogram bombs. They authorized the interception of any “suspect” aircraft approaching Gibraltar. To this end, the Royal Air Force deployed a Phantom interceptor aircraft and Rapier ground-to-air missile systems.
London was also afraid that Gibraltar would be targeted by an attack. According to the report quoted by The Times, “different terrorist organizations in Spain” were “linked to Libya”. This is why stricter control has been introduced with regard to North African populations from Morocco.
On April 15, 1986, Washington carried out a series of air strikes in Libya, targeting in particular the residence of late dictator Muammar Gaddafi in Tripoli. About 60 military and Libyan civilians were killed in these attacks.