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American Held in Yemen Released, Evacuated


FILE - Secretary of State John Kerry.

An American citizen being held in Yemen has been released and evacuated from the war-torn country to Oman.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry welcomed the news of the release of Wallead Yusuf Pitts Luqman, recognizing it as a "positive gesture" by the Houthi rebels.

The Omani state news agency ONA said Luqman was flown to the sultanate aboard an Omani military aircraft, along with several Yemenis wounded in the war.

Luqman's wife said her husband had been in Yemen teaching English and was detained in April 2015 while trying to leave the country by bus.

Last month, Oman - a member of the Gulf Cooperation Council - helped free two other Americans held by Yemen's Houthi rebels.

Yemen, on the southern edge of the Arabian Peninsula, has been in the midst of a civil war since September 2014 when the Houthis swept into the capital Sana'a and overthrew the government of President Abd-Rabu Mansour Hadi.

The United Nations estimates that more than 10,000 people have been killed since the Saudi-led coalition began military operations in Yemen in March last year, trying to restore Hadi to power.