French planes opened fire on a Libyan tank, hours after an international coalition made up of European and Arab countries and the U.S. announced it would take military action against Col. Muammar Gaddafi. Following an emergency meeting in Paris of world leaders, French President Nicolas Sarkozy announced fighter planes from his country were already patrolling Libya after Gaddafi reportedly ignored international demands for a cease-fire. Gaddafi issued warnings to President Obama and other world leaders, writing that Gaddafi is an essential ally against al Qaeda. But Secretary of State Hillary Clinton rebuffed Gaddafi, saying “we will stand with the people of Libya and we will not waiver [in our effort] to protect them.” She also said that she fears Libyan " unspeakable atrocities." The action marks the largest international military intervention since the 2003 invasion of Iraq.
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