Libya 1986

International Operation Name: not applicable

International Operation Dates: not applicable

Mandating Organization: Government of Canada

Region Name:  Africa

Location:  Libya

Canadian Operation Name: (Libya 1986)

Canadian Operation Dates: 1986/04/17 – 1986/04/20

Mission Mandate:

On order, to evacuate Canadian citizens in the wake of the American attacks on the night of 15/16 April 1986

Mission Notes: 

On 4 April 1986, Libyan agents, with the help of two East German women, manufactured a bomb following instructions from the Libyan Embassy in East Berlin. The next day the women crossed into West Berlin, planted the bomb in a discotheque known to be frequented by American soldiers, and left. The bomb detonated at 1:30 AM on 6 April, causing three deaths and over 200 injuries. The next day the Libyan Embassy in East Berlin notified Libyan intelligence headquarters in Tripoli of the mission. This and other messages were intercepted and decoded by the United States government.

In retaliation for this and other attacks organized by Libya, the United States government decided to attack Benghazi and Tripoli on the night of 15/16 April. Over 100 aircraft from the United States Navy and United States Air Force took part in the attack on military targets and terrorist training bases that started at 2:00 AM Libyan time and lasted about 12 minutes. One USAF F-111 was lost, while accurate Libyan casualty figures are not available.

In the aftermath of the attack, the Canadian government was concerned that foreigners might be targeted in Libya. Accordingly, three CC-130 Hercules from 426 Squadron, on training missions, where held up at CFB Lahr, Germany, pending a possible evacuation of Canadian citizens from Libya. After several days, the aircraft were allowed to continue on their training missions. Although no precise dates have been found, the best estimate is that the dates were in the period 17 to 20 April.


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