Sunday, 6 March 2011
Up to eight SAS soldiers were captured as they escorted a junior British diplomat through rebel-held territory in the east of the country.
In a statement, the MoD said: "We neither confirm nor deny the story and we do not comment on the special forces."
The SAS soldiers were taken by rebels to Benghazi, the largest city held by the opposition, where they were detained. It is said the diplomat had intended to contact Colonel Muammar Gaddafi's opponents ahead of a visit by a senior colleague to establish diplomatic relations with the rebels.
But the SAS intervention is thought to have angered Libyan opposition figures.'
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 arrested 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.
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."
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.
Officials in Tripoli said pre-dawn gunfire there was celebrating pro-Gaddafi "gains" of the towns.
Regarding the SAS seizure claims, Geneva-based Human Rights Solidarity group said it was aware that a team of special forces had been seized by Libyan rebels but it did not know which country they were from.
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".