London, Nov 20: British spy agency MI6 played a key role in the capture of Saif al-Islam, son of slain Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi, a media report said.
The top-secret 25 million pounds mission, dubbed Operation X, used the latest hi-tech electronic intelligence gadgets to bug his phones and finally lead to the capture of the 39-year-old in the Libyan desert last night, the ‘Daily Star' newspaper reported.
Saif had been hiding out in the Libyan desert for a month but the breakthrough came when he made two calls, one after the other, to say he was safe; it allowed the joint British and French bugging operation to pinpoint where he was, the newspaper said.
MI6 agents using the bugging equipment closed in on him before calling in the Libyan snatch squad, it claimed.
A British security source said: “He made a mistake and we were waiting for him. When someone drops out of sight they cannot resist the urge to ring someone and say they are OK. We knew what kit he had and all the phones he had.
“Saif was targeted by us but it was vital the Libyans were the ones to capture him. He was the right-hand man, a key member of his father's murderous regime.”
The London-educated playboy and his two aides were arrested by National Transitional Council fighters in Libyan desert while they were trying to flee to neighbouring Niger where one of his brothers has been granted asylum.
Saif is wanted by the International Criminal Court in The Hague for crimes against humanity but the Libyans want to try him in their country for alleged crimes.