Two U.S. warships carrying marines and equipment entered the Suez Canal on Wednesday en route to Libya, as the United States and Europe piled pressure on Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi.
"The USS Kearsarge and the USS Ponce entered the Suez Canal from the southern entrance at 6:00 am (0400 GMT) and are making their way to the Mediterranean Sea," a canal authority official said.
On average it takes 12 to 14 hours for a ship to transit the canal.
The Kearsarge amphibious ready group, with about 800 marines, a fleet of helicopters and medical facilities, could support humanitarian efforts as well as military operations.
"We're certainly moving assets to be closer (to Libya)," a U.S. defense official said on Tuesday. "A ship like the Kearsarge is capable of many types of missions."
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