UK in botched Libya mis­sion

Townsville Bulletin - - World Snapshot -

THE Bri­tish Gov­ern­ment is count­ing the cost of an SAS mis­sion to Libya in which the troops were cap­tured by rebels and a diplo­mat’s plea for their re­lease was broad­cast on state tele­vi­sion. The eight-strong team – thought to have in­cluded an MI6 of­fi­cer – had been sent to the coun­try in a bid to fos­ter links with op­po­nents of Colonel Muam­mar Gaddafi. But the plans ap­pear to have gone awry early on when their he­li­copter sparked an alert by land­ing near Benghazi with­out in­form­ing rebel com­man­ders. The group was re­port­edly de­tained af­ter a search of their bags re­vealed am­mu­ni­tion, ex­plo­sives, maps and fake pass­ports. A tele­phone call from the UK am­bas­sador to Libya Richard North­ern to a rebel leader try­ing to clear up the ‘‘ mis­un­der­stand­ing’’ was then seem­ingly in­ter­cepted and broad­cast on state tele­vi­sion. The team was fi­nally freed and is un­der­stood to have left Libya on Sun­day night on board HMS Cum­ber­land.

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