The United States has started the deployment of more than 4,000 marines and sailors to the Mediterranean Sea to support the ongoing military operation in Libya, the U.S. Navy news service said, according to RIA Novosti.

The decision to deploy servicemen from the Bataan Amphibious Ready Group (BATARG) and 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit was made "based on continuing urgent needs in Libya and the region," said the report, which was distributed on the DVIDS website.

"Amphibious ships are optimally suited for executing a wide range of missions, from humanitarian assistance to theater and maritime security operations," BATARG commander Capt. Steven J. Yoder was quoted as saying.

The UN Security Council imposed a no-fly zone over Libya last Friday allowing "all necessary measures" to protect civilians from leader Muammar Gaddafi`s attacks on rebel-held towns.

The operation to enforce the no-fly zone regime, codenamed Odyssey Dawn, is conducted jointly by 13 states, including the United States, Britain and France. Libyan state television has reported that at least 60 civilians have been killed and over 150 wounded by the attacks.

The Pentagon said on Wednesday that the 13-nation alliance had flown more than 300 sorties over the North African country, and fired 162 Tomahawk missiles at Libyan territory.

Airstrikes, which have been carried out by international coalition warplanes since Saturday, have caused significant damage to Libya`s defense facilities.