Libyan Pilots in Britain May Have Offered to Form Suicide Squads
LONDON (AP) _ Police said Sunday they were investigating allegations that Libyan pilots training in Britain may have volunteered to fly suicide missions against American targets after last week’s confrontation between U.S. and Libyan forces.
Police said the offer to form kamikaze-type squads was apparently made by a Libyan trainee pilot in Britain in an anonymous telephone call to Tripoli radio that was broadcast Thursday by the state-run network.
The broadcast was monitored by the British Broadcasting Corp., said Inspector David Horsburgh of Thames Valley police in Oxfordshire, west of London.
The caller, who did not identify himself in the broadcast, claimed that ″we, the revolutionary force, are prepared to become suicide squads against America and its arrogance ... We will hit with an iron fist anyone like dirty (President) Reagan who contemplates aggression.″
The Sunday Times of London reported that Adil Masood, 23, a Libyan pilot training at the Oxford Air Training School near Kidlington, north of Oxford, had confirmed making the call.
Masood was quoted by The Sunday Times as saying he was prepared to do ″whatever we are instructed to do″ even if it meant ″going on a suicide mission to the U.S.″
″When we hear of American acts of terrorism against our country, we cannot be expected to keep quiet,″ Masood was quoted as saying. ″All Libyans are prepared to form suicide squads to protect our country.″
U.S. officials say the Libyans fired at least six missiles soon after vessels of the 6th Fleet entered the disputed Gulf of Sidra off Libya to begin maneuvers Monday.
U.S. warplanes responded by sinking at least two Libyan patrol boats and made two raids of a shoreline missile base, the American officials said.
Libyan leader Col. Moammar Khadafy claims the gulf as national territory but the United States maintains it is international waters beyond the generally recognized 12-mile limit.
Masood, who said he has been at the pilot training school for two years, was quoted by the newspaper as saying he and his colleagues would not attack U.S. targets in Britain.
About 20 Libyans are training to be pilots and engineers at the school, The Sunday Times said.
Most are sponsored by Libyan Arab Airlines, but some have returned to Libya to fly military aircraft, Colin Beckworth, the school’s principal, was quoted by the newspaper as saying.
About 3,000 Libyans are living and working in Britain, which broke off diplomatic relations with Libya in April 1984 following a 10-day police siege of the Libyan Embassy in London after a gunman firing from the embassy at Libyan demonstrators outside killed a British policewoman.