UK, German carry out secret air rescue from Libya
London: In an indication of stiffening of western nation`s attitude to Muammar Gaddafi`s regime, British and German military planes flew clandestinely into the Libyan desert rescuing hundreds of civilians stranded in the country.
The dramatic rescue by planes followed a secret commando raid by Britain`s famed SAS which plucked 150 oil workers from multiple locations from the remote Libyan desert, `The Sunday Telegraph` reported.
The paper quoting unnamed Whitehall officials said the secret military mission into the strife torn country signalled the readiness of western nations to disregard Libya`s territorial integrity when it comes to the safety of its citizens.
Three British Royal Airforce C130 Hercules Aircraft swooped into the eastern Libyan desert to pluck out 150 stranded civilians and flew them to safety to Malta yesterday, the British Defence Secretary Liam Fox said in a statement.
Telegraph said, one of the RAF Hercules transport aircraft suffered minor damages from small arms fire.
In a similar defiant action, Germany said its airforce transport planes had evacuated 132 people from the Libyan desert during a secret military mission on Saturday.
Two German planes landed in a private airstrip belonging to the Wintershall AG Company airlifting 22 Germans and 112 other foreign nationals to the Crete island in Greece.
The Telegraph said, that SAS commandos had flown into Libya last week disguised as business passengers as the country descended into anarchy and violence.
"Once inside Libya they retrieved weapons and other equipments from the British embassy in Tripoli before embarking on an 18 hour mission to rescue trapped British and other foreign oil workers", the paper said.
The paper said that trapped workers were plucked from three oil facilities of Nafore, Amal and Wafa.
Rescue mission comes as New York Times reported that US and European officials had discussed plans to impose a no-fly zone over Libya to prevent further killings of civilians by troops and militia still loyal embattled leader Gaddafi.
The paper also said that the Obama Administration was also considering whether US military should disrupt communications to prevent Gaddafi from broadcasting in Libya.
US officials are also looking at whether the military can be used to set up safe corridors leading from Libya into neighbouring Tunisia and Egypt to assist refugees.