On 5 April 1986, three people were killed and 229 injured when La Belle discothèque was bombed in the Friedenau district of West Berlin. The entertainment venue was commonly frequented by United States soldiers, and two of the dead and 79 of the injured were American servicemen. Libya was accused by the US government of sponsoring the bombing, and US President Ronald Reagan ordered retaliatory strikes on Tripoli and Benghazi in Libya ten days later. The strikes reportedly killed 15–30 people, and were condemned by the United Nations General Assembly. The operation was widely seen as an attempt to kill Colonel Muammar Gaddafi.
In April 1986 Margaret Thatcher permitted US F-111s to use Royal Air Force bases for the bombing of Libya in retaliation for the alleged Libyan bombing of a Berlin discothèque, citing the right of self-defence under Article 51 of the UN Charter.