File picture shows Yemeni troops at a base in Raida, Shabwa province, southern Yemen
File picture shows Yemeni troops at a base in Raida, Shabwa province, southern Yemen © - AFP/File
File picture shows Yemeni troops at a base in Raida, Shabwa province, southern Yemen
AFP
Last updated: November 25, 2014

Yemen frees 8 hostages from Al Qaeda, including foreigner

Yemeni troops on Tuesday freed eight hostages, including a foreigner, from a group of Al-Qaeda militants who were killed in a dawn raid, a security official said.

All seven kidnappers died in the rescue operation at an undisclosed location, according to the official with Yemen's Supreme Security Committee who did not give the nationality of the foreigner.

"After security services received information on the location of the terrorist Al-Qaeda elements that kidnapped eight hostages -- seven Yemenis and a foreigner -- anti-terrorism forces carried out a successful dawn operation which freed all the hostages," he said.

A member of the security forces was lightly wounded in the raid, the official told the state-run Saba news agency, without saying how long the hostages had been held.

Hundreds of people have been kidnapped in Yemen over the past two decades, mostly by tribesmen who use them as bargaining chips in disputes with the government.

Nearly all have been freed unharmed.

But in recent years, Al-Qaeda's Yemen affiliate, regarded by Washington as the most dangerous offshoot of the jihadist network, has posed an increased threat.

The group has been holding a South African teacher since May last year, as well as a Saudi deputy consul kidnapped in the southern city of Aden in 2012.

Iranian embassy staffer Nour-Ahmad Nikbakht, who was abducted by suspected Al-Qaeda militants in the capital Sanaa in July last year, also remains in captivity.

Yemen is a key US ally in the fight against Al-Qaeda, allowing Washington 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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