Kirsten Grieshaber and Sylvia Hui
The Washington Post
BERLIN — British and German military planes swooped into Libya’s desert, rescuing hundreds of oil workers and civilians stranded at remote sites, as thousands of other foreigners are still stuck in Tripoli by bad weather and red tape.
The secret military missions into the turbulent North Africa country signal the readiness of Western nations to disregard Libya’s territorial integrity when it comes to the safety of their citizens.
Three British Royal Air Force planes plucked 150 stranded civilians from multiple locations in the eastern Libyan desert before flying them to Malta on Sunday, the British Defense Ministry said in a statement.
The rescue follows a similar secret commando raid Saturday by British Special Forces that got another 150 oil workers from the remote Libyan desert.
Separately, Germany said its air force had evacuated 132 people also from the desert during a secret military mission on Saturday…
…Thousands of Bangladeshis, Pakistanis, Somalis, Ethiopians and others spilled out of a row of port side shelters and shivered in the strong winds and torrential rains. These are some of the foreigner workers whose governments have not organized evacuation for them. Many work for Chinese and Turkish construction firms…
…The sheer numbers of foreigners leaving Libya as Moammar Gadhafi’s regime battles anti-government protesters has been staggering. At least 20,000 Chinese, 15,000 Turks and 1,400 Italians had been evacuated, most working in the construction and oil industries.
In addition, some 22,000 people have fled across the Libyan border to Tunisia and another 15,000 crossed the border into Egypt, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told the Security Council.
Italy’s San Giorgio military ship arrived in Sicily on Sunday, carrying about 250 people, half of them Italian…
The complete article, with a slide show, is at The Washington Post.
Update: Video at BBC, UK military rescue plane ‘shot at’ in Libyan desert
Update 2: Blazing Cat Fur has been posting some great stuff–as always–about Libya and the chaos in the Middle East. Today, Libya Video:
Many are extraordinarily graphic depictions of the violence being visited upon civilians. This is not for the faint of heart.
Remember, Gaddafi has hired African mercenaries to do to Libyan civilians what his own soldiers will not.