The hostages had been seized just north of Aden, a port city, but moved inland into Hadrawmut province. The first reports
from the Yemeni government claimed that a US military instructor was among the eight rescued. The Pentagon, while applauding the rescue, denied that any US personnel were rescued. The US embassy in Sanaa refused to even comment on the operation at all. The Yemen government report did not mention US involvement.
later privately confirmed that there were actually US ground troops involved in the rescue raid to the tune of two dozen Special Forces. The US does not admit to having "boots on the ground" in Yemen. Those freed were six Yemenis, a Saudi, and an Ethiopian. Officials say that the raid was aimed at freeing a US journalist and a UK citizen. Both are thought to have been moved prior to the raid.
The Yemen supreme security committee
said that 7 AQAP kidnappers were also killed during the raid with just one member of the security forces wounded. The Pentagon resumed military training in Yemen in 2012. Kidnapping is carried out not only by AQAP but by tribes wanting leverage to bargain with the central government and some simply by independent entrepreneurs who sell them to others. Recently a water engineer from Sierra Leone was freed after being seized and held for more than a year by unidentified armed men.
The Stars and Stripes
reports a Yemeni official as saying that there were five others the raid expected to liberate and this included the US journalist and a Briton. The hostages had been chained in a cave and covered with blankets. They were being held in a vast desert area in the eastern province of Hawdramut. Tribes in the area near the Saudi border give protection to militants and there is said to be a large Al Qaeda training camp in the area. The raid will increase the tension between tribes in the area and the central government. A Yemen Special Forces member identified as Abu Marouf described the raid:
"We found the eight hostages chained. We found al-Qaida cellphones and documents," he said, adding that the hostages said five of their companions had been moved out to an unknown location. He listed nationalities of the other hostages as an American journalist, one Briton, one South African, a Yemeni and a fifth believed to be Turkish. He did not identify them.