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LIBYA: Dutch marines captured in Libya appear headed to Athens

March 10, 2011 |  1:53 pm

Thanks to a deal brokered by Greek officials, the Libyan government has agreed to allow three Dutch marines captured after a failed evacuation mission in Libya last month to leave Tripoli for Athens Thursday, according to the Associated Press, quoting a Greek defense ministry official.

The official, who was not identified, said a Greek military transport plane had landed in Tripoli and was expected to depart with the Dutch troops on board, the AP reported.

The handover deal was reportedly sealed during a meeting in Athens between Libyan envoy Mohamed Tahir Siala and Greek Deputy Foreign Minister Dimitris Dollis, according to the AP, relaying information from the defense official.

Armed forces loyal to Libyan leader Moammar Kadafi seized the Dutch marines and their helicopter on Feb. 27 after they landed near the town of Sirte to help evacuate people from the country as the uprising against Kadafi started to rage, the AP said.

The longtime Libyan leader has warned Western powers against intervening in the turmoil engulfing his country. He vowed to turn Libya into “another Vietnam,” and said any foreign troops coming into his country “will be entering hell and they will drown in blood,” according to the AP and other news outlets.

 -- Ann M. Simmons

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