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German spies believed to have helped track down Qadhafi: press

IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency

Berlin, Oct 22, IRNA -- Germany's foreign secret service BND has apparently played a key role in tracking down former Libyan dictator Moammar Qadhafi in his hometown Sirte earlier this week, press reports said Saturday.

According to the Hamburg-based weekly news magazine Der Spiegel, the BND had known for weeks the location of Qadhafi's hideout in Sirte.

The BND has traditionally a vast network of sources in the Middle East and knew exactly where Qadhafi was hiding, the paper said.

Qaddafi, who had ruled Libya with an iron fist since 1969, was reportedly captured while driving in a convoy of vehicles fleeing the city Thursday morning.

NATO, which has been enforcing a no-fly zone and supporting anti-Qaddafi forces with airstrikes, was believed to have played a role, confirming its jets had bombed a military 'convoy' near Sirte.

The news of Qaddafi's death came shortly after troops backed by Libya's transitional leadership said they had fully captured Qadhafi's last stronghold.

Der Spiegel quoted security circles as saying that the BND did not provide any geographical data for NATO's bombing targets in Sirte.

BND's help in finding Qadhafi runs counter to Berlin's formal opposition to NATO's war in Libya.

The latest report is reminiscent of the 2003 Iraq war when BND agents were active in Iraq during the entire war and even helped the United States choose bombing targets.

BND operatives may even have delivered targeting assistance for the early April 2003 bombing in the wealthy Mansour district of Baghdad -- a strike which was meant to vaporize ex-Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein along with several top members of his regime.

The attack left between 12 and 19 people dead -- but not Saddam.

Germany had also offcially rejected the US-led war in Iraq.

Islamic Republic News Agency/IRNA NewsCode: 30625439

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