Britain expels five Libyan diplomats

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Britain is expelling the Libyan military attache and four other diplomats for intimidating opposition groups in London, Foreign Secretary William Hague said Wednesday.

"To underline our grave concern at the regime's behaviour I can announce to the house that we have today taken steps to expel five diplomats at the Libyan embassy in London including the military attache," Hague told parliament.

"The government also judged that were these individuals to remain in Britain they could pose a threat to our security," he said.

A Foreign Office spokesman said the expelled diplomats were thought to be strong supporters of embattled Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi, whom Britain and other countries have called on to stand down.

"We won't go into details on their activities," the spokesman said.

"But we believe they are among the strongest Kadhafi supporters in the embassy, that they have put pressure on Libyan opposition and student groups in the UK and that there is a risk of damage to UK national security if they remain," he added.

Prime Minister David Cameron said earlier that he would not rule out arming rebels who are fighting Kadhafi's regime.

© 2011 AFP

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