UK, Germany fly secret missions into Libya

2011-02-28 07:39

Berlin - British and German military planes swooped into Libya's desert, rescuing hundreds of oil workers and civilians stranded at remote sites, as thousands of other foreigners are still stuck in Tripoli by bad weather and red tape.

The secret military missions into the turbulent North Africa country signal the readiness of Western nations to disregard Libya's territorial integrity when it comes to the safety of their citizens.

Three British Royal Air Force planes plucked 150 stranded civilians from multiple locations in the eastern Libyan desert before flying them to Malta on Sunday, the British Defence Ministry said in a statement.

One of the RAF Hercules aircraft appeared to have suffered minor damage from small arms fire, Defence Secretary Liam Fox said.

The rescue follows a similar secret commando raid on Saturday by British Special Forces that got another 150 oil workers from the remote Libyan desert.

Separately, Germany said its air force had evacuated 132 people also from the desert during a secret military mission on Saturday.

German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said on Sunday that two German military planes landed on a private runway belonging to the Wintershall AG company, evacuating 22 Germans and 112 others and flying them to the Greek island of Crete.

Very dangerous

Another 18 German citizens were rescued by the British military in a separate military operation on Saturday that targeted remote oil installations in the Libyan desert, Westerwelle said. He said around 100 other German citizens are still in Libya and the government was trying to get them out as quickly as possible.

"I want to thank the members of the Germany military for their brave mission," Westerwelle said.

German military missions abroad need approval by parliament, and Westerwelle said he had spoken to all party leaders in parliament on Friday to tell them about the upcoming military mission.

He said the coalition government led by Chancellor Angela Merkel had evaluated the situation in Libya as "very dangerous" and therefore ordered an immediate evacuation by the air force.

The German foreign ministry refused to name the exact location of the company and the site where the evacuation took place.

The head of Wintershall, Rainer Seele, thanked the government.

"We are all relieved and grateful," he was quoted as saying by the DAPD news agency.

  • BigMoose - 2011-02-28 07:54

    Up goes the oil price.

  • princess.arlene - 2011-02-28 08:14

    Viva la' Entebbe! The age of chivalry is not dead, even if it's more expensive to oil the hinges. :)

  • Natasha Mynhardt - 2011-02-28 08:16

    People are dying and you're worried about the oil price.. I wonder if people did the same when Hitler was killing Jews.. take a long hard look at yourself. sacrifice the luxuries, and let a country be free of the evil!

      simon.lax - 2011-02-28 09:05

      Oh please! Grow-up will you! I'm pretty certain that BigMoose's comment was said with tounge firmly stuck in cheek. But yes it is a serious issue - innocent people getting caught up in all the political BS is not plesant but a rising oil price affects us all too. Just watch the local unions 'en masses' start going crazy in a month or two when the price of food goes through the roof because of increased transport costs.

      wmutahi - 2011-02-28 09:22

      What evil are you talking about?, You cannot compare Muammar to Hitler. What good has come to Iraq, Afghanistan with the so called freeing these countries of the evil? Democracy is all good, but it also gives fools the voice and in the end they become puppets for the highest bidder.

  • Francois - 2011-02-28 08:29

    I think the Western states must get an ally in Southern Africa, so that they can land their planes in Zim. Maybe the US must deploy an aircraft carrier off the coast of Mocambique and then sommer help with the piracy. Just be careful of Lindiwe's Grippens, Harvards, Impalas and Spitfires and she spitting fire.

  • freddyvdm - 2011-02-28 08:37

    UK, Germany fly secret missions into Libya? guess its not a secret anymore!

      middelvinger - 2011-02-28 09:37

      You didn't know when it happened

  • Be-Bold - 2011-02-28 08:44


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