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Germans and Brits stage covert rescue in Libya

The Local · 28 Feb 2011, 08:40

Published: 28 Feb 2011 08:40 GMT+01:00

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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.

Story continues below…

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.

The Local/ka

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

09:33 February 28, 2011 by 23Dan
I'd love to know how the RAF ordered 2 Transalls in when they don't own any...
09:54 February 28, 2011 by twisted
Congratulations to the Bundeswehr on their successful mission.
14:10 February 28, 2011 by Frenemy
@23Dan: "Four military transport planes ­ two Transall planes ordered by the Germans, and two OTHER planes by the Brits" (I'm guessing C-130s)
15:51 February 28, 2011 by Louis Prince
I Read in another source that it was three British Royal Airforce C130 Hercules aircrafts and two German Transalls, and interestingly the Brits got minor damage from small arms fire. But I guess its good work, so well done!!!
15:53 February 28, 2011 by Beachrider
The BBC reports that the English used C130 Hercules cargo airplanes. Somewhere a German defense minister is complaining about not having the much-better A400M. Transall is a VERY old machine for this job.

Congratulations to the brave pilots and military staff on the rescue...
16:31 February 28, 2011 by Der Grenadier aus Aachen
My heartfelt congratulations on a successful, and apparently bloodless, rescue operation.
19:52 February 28, 2011 by William Thirteen
it was just Westerwelle & Merkel who actually signed off on the operation. KTzG just copied off of their papers...
22:10 February 28, 2011 by wenddiver
C-130s are a Lockheed-Martin product. A very successful LMT product. It can take off and land in very short areas. On You Tube there are pictures of the US Navy landing them on an Aircraft Carrier! They certainly weren't designed for that, but they do turn up in the darndest places!
01:49 March 1, 2011 by wood artist
C-130's are an old design. The only reason they're still around is because they do so many things well, and in some cases, do things that no other plane does. If you're old enough to remember, they were used by Israel for the raid on Entebbe, to rescue passengers from a highjacked plane. There they were picked for their long distance capability along with their relative silence.

Newer planes might be "fancier" and have higher speeds and such, but 130's just keep working. I've actually seen one land on a carrier, and then take off again. It was amazing.

04:46 March 1, 2011 by AmericanDave
Bravo to everyone involved - for making the decision to act, planning and execution.
07:42 March 1, 2011 by 23Dan
@Frenemy yeah, someone edited it. When I posted it said something like "four Transall military aircraft, two ordered by the Germans and two ordered by the British".
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