Libyan rebels free British commandos

March 6, 2011 at 1:47 PM
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LONDON, March 6 (UPI) -- A British diplomatic and military team has been freed in rebel-held eastern Libya, the Foreign Office said Sunday.

Foreign Secretary William Hague said the team had "experienced difficulties, which have now been satisfactorily resolved."

The BBC reported the team, including six Special Air Service commandos escorting a diplomat on a mission to reach out to rebels, left Benghazi aboard the Royal Navy frigate HMS Cumberland.

Witnesses said the men were captured by rebels after landing near Benghazi in a helicopter Friday.

A senior member of Benghazi's revolutionary council told the Guardian, "They were carrying espionage equipment, reconnaissance equipment, multiple passports and weapons. This is no way to conduct yourself during an uprising.

"Gadhafi is bringing in thousands of mercenaries to kill us; most are using foreign passports and how do we know who these people are?

"They say they're British nationals and some of the passports they have are British. But the Israelis used British passports to kill that man in Dubai last year."

The Sunday Times of London and The Guardian said the plainclothes soldiers were on an intelligence mission that "ended in humiliation."

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