Did British spies betray Gaddafi opponents?

Britain said it would "take seriously" claims that British spies worked with Libyan counterparts to lure al Qaeda militants to a mosque.

London: Britain on Sunday said it would "take seriously" claims that British spies worked with Libyan counterparts to betray opponents of Muammar Gaddafi and lure al Qaeda militants to a radical mosque.

The claims were made by two British newspapers who cited documents unearthed from Libyan archives after the Gaddafi regime was toppled last year.

The Mail on Sunday said documents revealed that in 2006, agents from Britain`s domestic intelligence agency MI5 provided Libyan spies with intelligence about dissidents who had fled to Britain.

"The documents disclose that MI5 betrayed the confidentiality that all refugees are promised when they apply for asylum," the paper said.

Spies also provided the Libyan agents with secure mobile phones and a luxurious safe house in London`s plush Knightsbridge district, the Mail added.

The Sunday Telegraph claimed MI6, the international intelligence agency, worked with Gaddafi`s agents in around 2004 to establish a radical mosque in an unnamed European city that could lure al Qaeda members.

A spokesman for the Home Office, Britain`s Interior Ministry, said: "We do not know the full details of these cases, but we take such claims seriously."

Parliament`s intelligence and security committee was looking into the government`s relationship with Libya "and will take account of any allegations raised by these reports," he added.

The alleged cooperation would in both cases have occurred during Tony Blair`s premiership in Britain.

The Labour leader, prime minister between 1997 and 2007, reopened diplomatic links with Libya after his so-called "deal in the desert" talks with Gaddafi in 2004. (AFP)