The U.S. military is repositioning its forces near North Africa as the United States and its allies impose sanctions on Libya and consider whether to establish a no-fly zone over the country, where a resistance army is building against dictator Muammar al-Qaddafi.
Fox News has learned that the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise -- which was previously positioned off the coast of Somalia, where it was stationed to respond to a pirate hijacking -- has turned around and moved to the mouth of the Suez Canal in the Red Sea, heading in the direction of Libya -- with 15 detained pirates on board.
Pentagon spokesman Col. Dave Lapan said the military is "repositioning" forces to be ready to assist in Libya. Most likely, U.S. forces would be asked to provide humanitarian relief, though no decision has been made and the State Department has not yet made a request to the military, Lapan said.
A senior U.S. military official told Fox News that the Enterprise has not yet been ordered to move through the Suez Canal into the Mediterranean Sea, describing the aircraft carrier as one "option" available to the military as the situation in Libya develops.
"We are exploring all options and moving assets in case they are needed," the official said.