Gulf of Sidra Shootdown

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GULF OF SIDRA SHOOTDOWN (19 August 1981). As part of a response to Libya's support of international terrorism, two U.S. Navy F-14 Tomcat fighter planes deliberately flew over the Gulf of Sidra, claimed by Libya as its own territory. When two Libyan warplanes fired a missile at the U.S. planes, the Tomcats shot down both Libyan planes. President Ronald Reagan celebrated by pantomiming a gunslinger shooting from both hips and reasserting that the gulf was international waters. Libya's support for international terrorism continued nonetheless, leading to further incidents in the Gulf of Sidra and eventually the U.S. bombing of Tripoli and Benghazi in April 1985.


Davis, Brian L. Qadaffi, Terrorism, and the Origins of the U.S. Attack on Libya. New York: Praeger, 1990.

El Warfally, Mahmoud. Imagery and Ideology in U.S. Policy toward Libya, 1969–1982. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 1988.

Simons, Geoff. Libya: The Struggle for Survival. New York: Macmillan, 1993.

J. GarryClifford/t. d.

See alsoArab Nations, Relations with ; Pan Am Flight 103 ; Terrorism .

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Gulf of Sidra Shootdown

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