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SAS (Special Air Service) Members 'Captured in Libya'


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Details of a UK operation to rebel-held Benghazi in Libya in which eight men - six reportedly SAS - were detained, have been disclosed to the BBC.

 

Defence Secretary Liam Fox said a small diplomatic team was in Benghazi and "they were in touch with them".

 

The BBC's Jon Leyne said witnesses saw six men in black overalls land in a helicopter near the city early on Friday and they were met by two others.

 

They were later detained when it was discovered they were carrying weapons.

 

According to an earlier report in the Sunday Times the unit was trying to put UK diplomats in touch with rebels trying to topple the Gaddafi regime.

 

In a statement, the MoD said: "We neither confirm nor deny the story and we do not comment on the special forces."

 

Our correspondent, who is in Benghazi, said the men went to the compound of an agricultural company where they were challenged by Libyan guards and asked if they had weapons.

 

"Witnesses said that when the men's bags were checked they were found to contain arms, ammunition, explosives, maps and passports from at least four different nationalities.

 

"The witnesses said at that point all eight men were arrested and taken to an army base in Benghazi where they are being held by the opposition forces who control this area."

 

Continue reading the main story

At the scene

 

 

Jon Leyne

BBC News, Benghazi

I spoke to one person and he said it's ok, they're fine. We're in contact with London, just give us a few days and it'll all be ok.

 

I think basically that the opposition here, the people in control, have an understanding of the situation: these are not hostile people.

 

The problem was arriving on a helicopter, in the middle of the night, carrying weapons.

 

You can understand the sort of fears that provoked here and so there were misunderstandings, they have been arrested.

 

The big question here is why on earth, if this was some kind of diplomatic or even military liaison, they chose to do it like this?

 

The HMS York was docked in Benghazi harbour on Wednesday.

 

So if Britain wanted to send anybody in to the court house where the proto-government is based here, they could have jumped in a taxi, or even walked there, from the harbour.

 

Meanwhile, the British evacuation of EU nationals continues. The Royal Navy frigate HMS Cumberland is due to set sail from Benghazi later on Sunday.

 

In other developments, eyewitnesses and rebels say four towns which Libyan forces loyal to Colonel Gaddafi claim to have retaken actually remain under rebel control.

 

BBC staff report that Tobruk and Ras Lanuf remain in rebel hands.

 

Anti-Gaddafi forces still control Misrata and Zawiya, residents and rebels said. But Misrata was reported to be under renewed attack on Sunday.

 

Routine deployment

 

Officials in Tripoli said pre-dawn gunfire there was celebrating pro-Gaddafi "gains" of the towns.

 

Separately, a group of Dutch special forces was apparently captured by Col Gaddafi's forces in western Libya while trying to assist Dutch nationals evacuate.

 

Earlier, the MoD confirmed Scottish troops were on standby to assist with humanitarian and evacuation operations in Libya.

 

Defence Secretary Liam Fox told the BBC the UK had no plans to use British land forces in Libya.

 

The Black Watch, 3rd Battalion of the Royal Regiment of Scotland, is on a routine deployment notice of 24 hours at an RAF base in Wiltshire.

 

Former foreign secretary, David Miliband, told the BBC's Andrew Marr show that Libya was going to have to be a "big squeeze rather than a big bump on Gaddafi".

 

He said they would need to squeeze his oil money, squeeze him politically and also "make sure people know that they have our support".

 

Questioned about Col Gaddafi's son Saif giving the Ralph Miliband memorial lecture at the LSE last year, he said it was "horrific".

 

Set up to honour his academic father's memory, he said it had been "horrific to the whole family, obviously".

 

Source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-12658054. Oh btw, the SAS are in my avatar. Big fan of special forces:)

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One step closer to war?

 

Are they definately our secret services? They are unknown, and in situations like that only give numbers, nothing identifyable.

 

I don't think the PM will take the fact our best special forces have been captured. No, they're not secret services they're army special forces - best of the best :mrgreen:

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