Berlin and London worked together on “Operation Narfurah” for days, but in the end the mission lasted just 45 minutes on Friday evening, news magazine Der Spiegel reported, citing anonymous military sources.
“The operation in Libya was one of the riskiest missions by the Bundeswehr in recent years, planned under the strictest secrecy,” Der Spiegel wrote.
Four military transport planes – two Transall planes ordered by the Germans, and two other planes by the Brits – landed briefly in the Libyan desert to save Europeans from the escalating violence in the North African country, the magazine said.
According to the report, the Bundeswehr saw no other alternative to the dangerous mission near Nafoora, as the location is called in English. The 22 Germans and other Europeans, among them many British oil workers, had reportedly fled to the location near an oil refinery to escape the civil-war-like conditions.
Earlier in the week the Bundeswehr had already used several Transall planes to evacuate about 100 Germans near Tripoli. During that time elite German paratroopers in Lower Saxony were reportedly still preparing for Friday's mission.
On Friday afternoon Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle, Defence Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg and the chancellery all approved the mission, which happened quickly thereafter, the magazine said.