American hostage in Yemen freed in military raid: Defense Ministry

Reuters News
Posted: Dec 06, 2014 3:19 AM

SANAA (Reuters) - An operation by Yemen's armed forces early on Saturday freed an American hostage being held by al Qaeda and killed 10 members of the militant group holding him, the country's Defense Ministry said on its website.

It did not name the hostage, but said the operation took place in the Wadi Abdan Al Daqqar region of Shabwa Province in southern Yemen and targeted an al Qaeda group headed by Mubarak al-Harad.

A security source told Reuters the operation included an air strike followed by a raid involving Yemeni and U.S. forces.

Spokespeople for the U.S. Defense Department, State Department and Federal Bureau of Investigation could not be immediately reached for comment.

On Thursday, the United States said it had made a failed attempt last month to rescue 33-year-old journalist Luke Somers who was kidnapped in Sanaa in September 2013.

A video posted by al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) on Wednesday purported to show Somers and threatened to kill him if unspecified demands were not met.

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Al Qaeda and allied Islamist militants have a strong presence in large parts of southern and eastern Yemen, an impoverished Arabian Peninsula country where the government has little control outside main cities.

(Reporting By Mohammed Ghobari and Mohammed Mukhashaf in Sanaa and Aden; Additional reporting by Curtis Skinner in San Francisco; Writing Angus McDowall; Editing by Janet Lawrence)