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Three Dutch Marines Held in Libya After Failed Rescue

The Dutch Defense Ministry has confirmed that three Dutch soldiers are being held by authorities in Libya after they were captured by forces loyal to Muammar Qaddafi while trying to rescue two European workers by helicopter.

A ministry spokesman said the three soldiers were captured on February 27 in Sirte, in northern Libya, and that "intensive negotiations" are underway to secure their release.

Earlier, Dutch media reports said the soldiers were attacked after their helicopter landed in Sirte.

The two Europeans were handed over by the Libyans to the Dutch embassy and have since left Libya.

The Marines and the helicopter were based on board the Dutch frigate Tromp. The warship, which was initially to have taken part in an antipiracy operation off Somalia, headed on February 24 for the Libyan coast.

compiled from agency reports