A U.S. military instructor was among eight hostages that were freed on Tuesday in a raid in Yemen against their al-Qaida kidnappers. UPI covers the story:
Yemen’s Supreme Security Committee announced the information, adding seven al-Qaida members were killed, although not disclosing the nationality of the foreign hostage. A Yemeni government source told Al Jazeera he was an American who worked as an instructor at the al-Anad military base, adding the rescue mission occurred near the base.
It was not clear when the eight were abducted. The U.S. Embassy in Sanaa offered no comment.
Al-Qaida’s Arabian branch is headquartered in Yemen, and is believed to still be holding a South African teacher, abducted in May 2013, an Iranian embassy official taken in July 2013 and a Saudi diplomat taken in 2012. The Yemeni government, a U.S. ally in opposing Al-Qaida, has approved the presence of U.S. forces on its territory in fighting the Islamist group.
Hostage-taking is a common tactic in Yemen, used by tribesman to settle disputes with the government, and by groups such as al-Qaida to obtain ransom money.