London, March 6 (DPA) Eight British special forces commandos were captured by rebel forces in eastern Libya, the Sunday Times reported.
The paper said the soldiers were escorting a junior British diplomat through rebel-held territory who was hoping to make contact with the insurgent forces. The government refused to comment.
“We neither confirm nor deny the story and we do not comment on the special forces,” a ministry of defence statement said.
A Geneva-based human rights group also said it was aware that a team of special forces troops had been seized by Libyan rebels, but was unaware of their nationality.
The Times report said the rebels took the captive SAS soldiers to Benghazi, the largest city held by the opposition, where they being held.
The UK Press Association said the SAS intervention had angered some Libyan opposition leaders.
Heavy fighting was reported in the city of Zawiya, 80 km from the capital Tripoli, as rebels struggled to hold back troops loyal to Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi.
Insurgents were reported to have taken control of the strategic oil port of Ras Lanuf after days of pitched battles with government forces.