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Crete: US military buildup in Souda Bay

A US military buildup is taking place at the Souda Bay on the Greek island of Crete as Muammar Gaddafi keeps bombing his own people and there is no sign of a peaceful solution.

US Navy amphibious assault ships USS Kearsarge and USS Ponce are expected to arrive at Souda bay today. USS Kearsarge is expected to lead the naval forces in case of military operations against Libya. The ship carries 42 helicopters and 800 Marines and can support both military and humanitarian operations, Greek daily Eleftherotypia reported.

Associated Press   stressed  that aready 400 U.S. Marines  arrived at the US naval base in Souda departed from the U.S. The Marines are from the 1st Battalion of  the 2nd Marine Expeditionary Unit, based at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina, arrived Wednesday at the U.S. Souda Bay on the Greek island of Crete. Most possible they will join the USS Kearsarge.

Base spokesman Paul Farley said they have been deployed “as part of contingency planning to provide the president (Barack Obama) flexibility on full range of option regarding Libya,” along with the amphibious assault ships USS Kearsarge and USS Ponce which have been ordered to the Mediterranean Sea.

Britain and France said Thursday that preparations should begin to establish a “no-fly zone” over the North African nation to protect rebel forces.

Russia has ruled out a no-fly zone, and its consent is required as a veto-wielding member of the U.N. Security Council. But British Foreign Minister William Hague has said that while “ideally” such a zone would need to be sanctioned by the U.N. that wasn’t essential.

No-fly zones operated over Saddam Hussein’s Iraq by the U.S. and Britain did not receive such Security Council approval, while the one over Bosnia did.

Greece to evacuate Egyptians from Libya

Meanwhile after the repatriation of more than 10,000, Greece is set to send several ferry boats to evacuate tens of thousands Egyptians stranded at Libya-Tunisia border.

Greek Defense Minister Evangelos Venizelos said Thursday that Greece will send several ferries in the next few days to the region to help with the repatriation of the Egyptians. He said the ships, which are being sent at the request of the Egyptian government, will be accompanied by two frigates from the Greek Navy.

At the same time Philippines-government chartered a Greek ferry boat to evacuate 1,290 Filipinos from Libya.

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