Yemen Rebels Free US Hostages

Identities aren't released
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Sep 20, 2015 9:09 AM CDT
Shiite Houthi rebels attend a rally to protest Saudi-led airstrikes, in Sanaa, Yemen, in August.   (AP Photo/Hani Mohammed)

(Newser) – Yemen's Shiite Houthi rebels today released three Americans and three other foreign hostages, say Houthi officials and authorities at the airport in Sanaa. Their identities weren't made public, nor were details about their detention. But at least one of them is a journalist, whom Houthi offiicals said "entered the country illegally" and "worked without notifying the authorities." The six were flying to the Gulf nation of Oman, which negotiated their release. CNN reports that one Briton and two Saudis also were freed. In June, American freelance journalist Casey Coombs, who was held by the rebels, was set free. Following Coombs' release, which Oman mediated, the State Department said it was working to win the release of several Americans detained in Yemen. It's not clear whether any remain in custody.

Yemen has been torn by a ferocious war pitting the Houthis and forces fighting for former President Ali Abdullah Saleh against fighters loyal to exiled President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, as well as southern separatists, local militias, and Sunni extremists. The conflict escalated in March as a Saudi-led, US-backed coalition launched airstrikes against the Houthis. The US Embassy in Muscat and the British Foreign Office were unable to immediately confirm the hostages' release. (Read more Yemen stories.)

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