Page last updated at 13:49 GMT, Saturday, 12 September 2009 14:49 UK

SAS training Libya, paper claims

Gordon Brown and Colonel Muammar Gaddafi
There is ongoing defence co-operation between the UK and Libya

An SAS team has been training Libyan special forces in counter-terrorism techniques, a newspaper claims.

The Daily Telegraph reports that a team of up to 14 men have been providing training in areas including covert surveillance for six months.

An SAS source quoted by the paper suggests a possible link between the training and the release of Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi.

A Foreign Office spokesman said the suggestion of such a link was untrue.

The Ministry of Defence does not comment on special forces activities, and neither confirmed nor denied the Telegraph's report.

But defence sources said that if they were to undertake such training it would be for regular forces only, says BBC defence correspondent Caroline Wyatt.

'Rolling of eyes'

The Foreign Office says there is ongoing defence co-operation with Libya.

The Telegraph quoted an SAS soldier as saying: "The IRA was our greatest adversary now we are training their backers.

"There was a weary rolling of the eyes when we were told about this."

Tripoli supplied the IRA with weaponry during the Northern Ireland Troubles.

Megrahi, who has terminal prostate cancer, was freed on compassionate grounds by the Scottish Government last month.

He had been serving a minimum of 27 years in jail for carrying out the 1988 passenger plane bombing that claimed 270 lives.

The bomber was given a hero's welcome on his return to Libya.



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