Yemen: Raid frees eight hostages, including US serviceman

Yemen Raid frees eight hostages, including US serviceman

A group of seven Yemenis and a US military expert who were taken hostage by a group linked to al-Qaeda have been freed by Yemeni Special Forces, a local security source has told the BBC.

The eight were captured in Lahij province in southern Yemen.

Seven kidnappers were reported to have killed in the overnight operation.

Scores of people have been kidnapped in Yemen in recent years, by tribesmen for ransom, and more recently by Islamist militants as part of their insurgency.

A Yemeni government source told Reuters news agency that the freed American was a military instructor who worked at al-Anad air base in Lahij province, about 60km (37 miles) north of the port city of Aden.

The source said the rescue mission took place close to the base. It is not clear when the eight were abducted.

The US embassy in the capital, Sanaa, has refused to comment on the reports.

Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula is based in Yemen and is seen by the US as one of the most active and dangerous branches of the network founded by Osama Bin Laden.

The group is believed to be holding a South African teacher since May 2013 in addition to a Saudi Arabian deputy consul kidnapped in Aden in 2012.

An Iranian embassy official is also believed to have been abducted by al-Qaeda members in Sanaa in July 2013.

Yemen is an important ally of the US in its struggle against al-Qaeda. It has given permission to American forces to conduct a longstanding drone war against the group on its territory.

The militant group has exploited instability in the impoverished country since a 2011 uprising overthrew president Ali Abdullah Saleh.




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