Washington: The US fighter jumbos have continued airstrikes inside Libya even after NATO took over the command of coalition to enforce the UN mandated no-fly-zone over the North African country, Pentagon has said.

F-16CJs fighting Falcons and E/A-18G Growlers have flown 97 sorties to suppress enemy air defenses, Pentagon spokesman Col Dave Lapan said and made it clear that American military had not withdrawn after the change in command.

Lapan said since April 4, when NATO took over command of the Libyan military operation from the US, 11 American aircraft including six F-16CJs Falcons and five E/A-18G Growlers have been in action.

The United States has been flying SEAD missions since the beginning of this operation on March 19. Lapan said that there was a caveat that US aircraft could only be used for SEAD strike missions.

These aircraft are solely devoted to the SEAD mission, he said, adding NATO must still request US strike aircraft should they desire their use for offensive operations.

In addition to the 11 fighter aircraft being used by NATO, Pentagon listed other assets that the US had provided to NATO.

(Agencies)