Libyan state television has shown footage of the three-strong Dutch helicopter crew, captured by a government militia after a botched attempt to rescue two European nationals from the port city of Sirte.
The crew, which appears to include at least one woman, are seen in uniform in an office drinking soft drinks from cans. The helicopter, a machine gun said to be on board and other weapons are also shown in the report.
The broadcast said that Libya regards the Dutch nationals as having entered Libyan air space without permission, in violation of international law.
Nos tv rebroadcast the footage but blocked out the faces of the crew to keep their identity secret.
Intense diplomatic efforts are now being made to get the crew freed, Nos said.
According to the Telegraaf, if the military had used a more modern helicopter than the 1978 Lynx, the mission could have succeeded.
‘With more modern equipment they could have spotted the Libyan ground troops in time,’ one military source told the paper.
Former army chief of staff Dick Berlijn said it there must have been an emergency to go to such lengths to get the two people out.
‘If you have more time, you would send a much bigger Chinook helicopter with special forces on board as protection,’ he said. ‘But there does not appear to have been enough time for that.’
The crew was arrested on Sunday after landing in Sirte, the birthplace of Libyan leader Gaddafi.
The two Europeans, one said to be an employer of Dutch civil engineering group Haskoning, have since arrived back home.
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