A raid led by the United States Armed Forces freed eight hostages from a cave in a remote part of eastern Yemen. United States Special Operations commandos and Yemeni troops executed a predawn raid on a cave, which was believed to hold militants belonging to an Al Qaeda’s affiliate. Six of the freed hostages were Yemeni citizens, while the others were a Saudi and an Ethiopian. The hostages were evacuated from the area by helicopter.
Nearly two dozen United States commandos took part in the raid, along with a small number of Yemeni counterterrorism troops trained by the Americans. The rescue force flew to the area by helicopter, and then hiked in the dark to the cave. The militants holding the captives were surprised by the operation and seven of the militants were killed in the subsequent shootout. All of the hostages were rescued unharmed.
The Yemeni government released a statement that made no mention of American involvement in the operation. Rear Adm. John F. Kirby, the Pentagon press secretary, referred questions about the operation to the Yemeni government.
President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi of Yemen requested help rescuing the hostages two weeks ago. Yemen has long been an ally of the United States, but that relationship has become strained in recent years. Mr. Hadi came to power two years ago as part of an internationally brokered deal that saw Ali Abdullah Saleh step down as leader of the country after being President for 33 years.
The violence in Yemen seems to be out of control. In September, a rebel group suddenly seized control of Yemen’s capital. The rebel group, known as the Houthis, fought six wars against Yemen’s central government before capturing the capital, taking over government buildings, state media facilities and military bases.