.
.
.
.

Iranian diplomat kidnapped in Yemen freed

Nour-Ahmad Nikbakht was seized in July 2013 while leaving his home in Sanaa

Published: Updated:

An Iranian diplomat kidnapped in Yemen has been freed and returned to Tehran on Thursday, official media reported.

Nour-Ahmad Nikbakht was seized in July 2013 while leaving his home in Sanaa by gunmen suspected of being members of Al-Qaeda.

He reportedly arrived at Tehran’s Mehrabad Airport on Thursday, state news agency IRNA said.

"A special team from the Intelligence Ministry was able to free Nikbakht from the clutches of terrorists in a series of complex and difficult operations in a very particular part of Yemen," IRNA quoted deputy foreign minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian as saying.

Nikbakht was the second high-profile hostage to be freed in Yemen this week. A Saudi Arabian diplomat kidnapped in 2012 was released on Monday, after being held by al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.

Yemen has plunged deeper into turmoil since the Iranian-backed Shi'ite Muslim Houthi group seized control of the capital in September last year.

Iran's state-run Press TV showed images on Thursday of Nikbakht, looking healthy and wearing a suit, meeting his family and Abdollahian at the airport.

[AFP and Reuters]