Trump Admin Secures Release of Two American Hostages from Yemen
U.S citizens returning home after being held by Iran-backed Houthi terrorists
President Donald Trump's administration has secured the release of two more American hostages from Iran-backed terrorists in Yemen.
A U.S. businessman and an American humanitarian worker, who were held captive by Houthi terrorists, were released on Wednesday in the Middle Eastern country’s capital, President Trump’s national security adviser, Robert O’Brien, said.
Another American citizen detained in Yemen, Bilal Fateen, had tragically died in captivity before being rescued, O’Brien revealed.
The Houthis released the two Americans, Sandra Loli and Mikael Gidada, and returned Fateen's remains in exchange for 200 individuals fighting in Yemen against proxies supported by Saudi Arabia, according to the White House.
“The United States welcomes the release today of U.S. citizens Sandra Loli and Mikael Gidada from Houthi custody in Yemen,” O’Brien said in a statement.
“We send our condolences to the family of Bilal Fateen, whose remains will be repatriated as well.”
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced the successful release on Wednesday evening.
Today, the @realdonaldtrump Administration secured the release of two American hostages held captive by Houthis in Yemen. We join all Americans in welcoming their newly regained freedom.— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) October 14, 2020
"We join all Americans in welcoming their newly regained freedom," he tweeted.
Oman's state news said the American captives were flown out of Yemen on an Omani plane.
It added that "Yemeni brothers" who received treatment in Oman have been returned to Yemen's capital, Sanaa, on two flights as part of the exchange.
Kieran Ramsey, director of the administration's hostage recovery cell, said Loli and Gidada would soon be on their way back to the United States.
"Tragically, one of these Americans died during his unlawful captivity," Ramsey said.
Kash Patel, a deputy assistant to Trump who worked on the deal, told The Wall Street Journal that Loli had been held by the Houthis for about three years and Gidada was held captive for about a year.
Yemen plunged into chaos and civil war when the Houthi rebels took over Sanaa in 2014 from the internationally recognized government.
A Saudi-led coalition allied with the government has been fighting the Houthis since March 2015.
The war has left millions without food and proper medical care and has killed more than 112,000 people.
The release of the Americans came a day before a planned U.N.-brokered exchange of more than 1,000 prisoners between the Houthis and the internationally recognized government.
The U.N. had said in September that the two warring sides agreed to exchange 1,081 conflict-related prisoners, including Saudi and Sudanese troops fighting on the side of the Saudi-led coalition.