American hostage in Yemen freed by UAE forces

An American hostage who was freed in Yemen in February after nearly 18 months in captivity was rescued in an armed raid led by the United Arab Emirates with help from the United States, according to US and Yemeni officials.

The hostage, Danny Lavone Burch, had been held by a criminal Yemeni gang with a record of kidnapping Westerners for ransom. The gang was known to sell hostages to a powerful local Al Qaida affiliate, the officials said.

President Donald Trump hosted Burch at the White House on Wednesday, crediting his release as a result of “great help from UAE and all of our friends.”

More than a half-dozen American and Yemeni officials described parts of the rescue operation on condition of anonymity.

Burch was retrieved from a cellar where he was being held in a lawless part of Yemen. One senior Yemeni official said seven people were arrested in the raid.

There were conflicting accounts of which military force led the raid. Some officials said it was Emirati special operation forces.

A senior Yemeni official said the raid was coordinated by the UAE but executed by the Hadrami Elite Forces, a Yemeni special operations group that operates under Emirati command.

source: Gulf News