The incident that prompted the attack
was the terrorist bombing
of a Berlin disco
on April 5th; 200 people were injured in the blast, 63 of whom were American soldiers. One soldier and one civilian were killed. President Ronald Reagan
, addressing the people of the United States
while the retaliatory
attack was in progress, claimed that the U.S. had uncovered irrefutable evidence
that the Libyan
government was responsible for the bombing.
The French government refused to allow the U.S. jets participating in the mission to fly over their airspace, increasing the crews' travel time by 6-7 hours and making additional refueling on the way necessary.
This disagreement between the U.S. and France was later cited as a supporting argument in the single "French People Suck" by the Meatmen.