Western troops seen on the ground in Libya

A TV report showing Western troops on the ground with Libyan rebels in a possible violation of a U.N. decree brought no immediate comment from the world body.

The al-Jazeera English report showed six armed Western troops, "possibly British, seen liaising with the fighters" in Dafniya, a rebel battle area front line near Misurata, Libya's third-largest city. The city has been under attack by forces loyal to Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi.

The Westerners, which al-Jazeera reported may have been facilitating forthcoming helicopter attacks, "left hurriedly" when they spotted the TV camera, the Qatari network reported.

A spokeswoman for U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told United Press International Monday night Ban's office had no comment on the report. She did not say whether the U.N. Security Council intended to investigate the report.

A March 17 Security Council resolution approved a no-fly zone over Libya to protect civilians from attacks by Gadhafi forces and authorized "all necessary measures" to protect civilians, but specifically excluded a "foreign occupation force of any form on any part of Libyan territory."

The al-Jazeera footage emerged as South African President Jacob Zuma arrived in Tripoli in an attempt to broker a cease-fire, hours after NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen of Denmark said Gadhafi's "reign of terror" was coming to an end.

[Source: UPI, Tripoli, 31May11]

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