WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Pentagon is moving military ships and planes closer to Libya, a Pentagon official said on Monday, as the Obama administration stepped up calls for Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi to step down.
“We are moving ships closer to Libya in case they are needed,” said Colonel David Lapan, a Pentagon spokesman. He said planes were also being repositioned closer to Libya, where Gaddafi remains defiant in the face of intensifying pressure from the West and from his own people to end his decades-long rule.
The Obama administration has said military action is one option it is looking at, although many analysts say the United States is highly unlikely to launch a ground invasion or air strikes because of the volatile situation on the ground.
It was not immediately clear what ships the U.S. Navy has in the Mediterranean but it does have two aircraft carriers stationed further to the east.
The U.S. Sixth Fleet has its headquarters near Naples, Italy, across the Mediterranean from Libya.
Reporting by Missy Ryan; Editing by Jackie Frank