US fighter jet crashes in Libya

The Pentagon said Tuesday an F-15 fighter jet crashed overnight while helping enforce the Libyan no-fly zone, the first operational blemish of the campaign.

"Two crew members ejected from their U.S. Air Force F-15E Strike Eagle when the aircraft experienced equipment malfunction over northeast Libya" late Monday evening, according to a Defense Department statement. "Both crew members ejected and are safe."

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The Pentagon said the crash occurred around 10:30 p.m. central European time.

The Pentagon is investigating what went wrong with the Boeing-made fighter jet. A spokesman for the company deferred comment to the military. 

According to Britain's Daily Telegraph, Libyan rebels rescued the fighter's pilot. The other airman was recovered later.

The crash is the first of any of the multinational force in Libya enforcing a United Nations no-fly zone resolution passed last week.

The U.S. military has taken the early lead in acting on the Security Council resolution and hitting Libyan military targets in an effort to protect Libyan civilians from the use of force by Col. Moammar Gadhafi.

American military officials say the U.S. will hand the lead off to its coalition allies in "days, not weeks."

This post was initially published at 7:12 a.m.

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