U.K. Defence Secretary Liam Fox confirmed that a “small British diplomatic team” is in eastern Libya to try to talk to rebels but declined to comment today on a report that Special Forces soldiers are being held there by opponents of Muammar Qadhafi.

Mr. Fox said the government is in touch with the team in Benghazi but told BBC radio it would be “inappropriate” to comment further on an article in Britain’s Sunday Times newspaper that soldiers were captured by rebel forces when a secret mission to put British diplomats in touch with leading opponents of Libya’s embattled leader went awry.

When pressed on whether the U.K. diplomatic team was in danger, Mr. Fox reiterated that the government is in contact with the diplomatic team.

“It is a very difficult situation to be able to understand in detail,” he said.

“There are a number of different opposition groups to Colonel Qadhafi in Libya who do seem relatively disparate.”

The Sunday Times reported that up to eight Special Forces soldiers, armed but in plain clothes, were captured while escorting a junior British diplomat through rebel—held territory in eastern Libya.

The Special Forces intervention angered Libyan opposition figures who ordered the soldiers to be locked up on a military base, the newspaper reported.

Keywords: Libya unrest

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