Yemeni forces free hostages, kill kidnappers

Yemeni security forces freed seven Yemeni hostages and one foreigner in a special operation in which seven al-Qaeda kidnappers were also killed. (File photo: Reuters)

Yemeni security forces freed seven Yemeni hostages and one foreigner in a special operation in which seven Al-Qaeda kidnappers were also killed, the country's supreme security committee said, according to Reuters news agency.

A U.S. soldier was among eight hostages freed by the Yemeni forces, military officials said according to Agence France Presse.

“An American soldier and seven Yemeni soldiers” were seized in the attack on Al-Anad air base, in Lahij province, an official said, adding that Yemeni forces killed seven militants in a raid that resulted in the release of the hostages.

In the special operation, one member of the Yemeni security forces was lightly wounded.

Kidnapping is common in U.S.-allied Yemen, where the country is battling with an insurgency from Islamists linked to al Qaeda, a southern separatist movement and sporadic conflicts with armed tribes.

Ansar al-Sharia, the local al Qaeda affiliate, have also come under more pressure recently after Shi'ite Houthi fighters captured the capital Sanaa in September and then pushed into al Qaeda strongholds in central Yemen.

Hostage-taking is sometimes carried out by militants specifically targeting Westerners, but is also used as a tactic by tribesmen to resolve disputes with the government, and by opportunists hoping to sell hostages on to other groups.

Earlier this month, the United Nations said a Sierra Leonean water engineer working in the Arabian Peninsula country on a sanitation project had been freed more than a year after being kidnapped by unidentified armed men.
 

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Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:45 - GMT 06:45
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