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British Team Leaves Libya After Being Held by Rebels

Britain's defense secretary Liam Fox (File Photo)

Britain's defense secretary Liam Fox (File Photo)

A British diplomatic team that reportedly includes special forces soldiers has left Libya after being detained by rebels near the eastern rebel stronghold of Benghazi.

Britain says the team left Libya Sunday after running into "difficulties." It did not confirm the presence of special forces but Foreign Secretary William Hague said Britain would send another delegation to meet rebel leaders soon.

Britain's Sunday Times newspaper earlier reported that Libyan rebels had captured as many as eight British special forces soldiers and a junior diplomat Friday who were on a covert mission to put the diplomat in touch with rebel leaders.

The newspaper said the rebels were angered by the presence of foreign troops on Libyan soil because they fear Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi could use any evidence of western forces in the country to rally patriotic support for his regime.

The Times said the Britons were taken to the rebel stronghold city of Benghazi to be questioned.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.