French fighter jets shot down a Libyan warplane in a bid to enforce the UN no fly-zone, a US official confirmed today.

The Libyan plane is believed to be the first put into the air since the Allies began bombing.

The incident happened outside Misrata, a major rebel stronghold which has so far successfully held out against the Gaddafi’s counter attack.

“The French patrol carried out an air-to-ground strike with an AASM weapon just after the plane had landed at the Misrata air base,” An armed forces spokesman told Reuters.

Misrata residents claimed that heavy artillery and shelling of the town has stopped since Allied forces bombed pro Gaddaffi forces there yesterday, however the town is still under fire from sniper fire while other reports suggest Gaddafi’s tanks re-entered the town overnight.

Allies hold off Pro-Gaddafi forces outside Tripoli

Un approves air-strikes against Libya

The French airstrike follows reports that the rebels are still struggling to gain the upper hand in the conflict.

The Allied forces pounded Libyan targets for a fifth consecutive night hitting artillery, arms depots and aircraft.

Officials have subsequently claimed that Libya’s air force no longer exists as a fighting force.

Meanwhile Nato warships have began patrolling Libya’s Mediterranean coast in an effort to stop the arrival of weapons and mercenaries for Gaddafi’s forces.