– Two Americans held captive in war-torn Yemen have been freed and flown to the Omani capital, Muscat, the Omani state news agency reported.
The agency quoted a Foreign Ministry source as saying on Saturday Omani authorities had coordinated with Yemeni parties in Sanaa over the release of a number of American nationals held captive in Yemen.
“Two of them have been released,” the unnamed source said, giving no further details.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, for his part, said the two Americans were freed as part of a diplomatic arrangement that included the airlift of Yemenis injured in a coalition airstrike on a funeral gathering in Sanaa last week, which left more than 140 people dead.
“An airplane flew from Muscat to Sanaa, it took the Houthi delegation back to Sanaa and it took wounded people from the funeral back to Oman – this is something we have been working on for the last days – and it also secured the release of two American citizens from the Houthi,” Kerry told reporters in the Swiss city of Lausanne.
“Their names are not being released at this point in time, but we were very pleased with that and we continue to work on other hostage situations here and elsewhere.”
Last week’s airstrike has brought the Saudi-led coalition, which has been battling Yemen’s Houthi group for more than a year now, under fire.
On Saturday, an inquiry team blamed “incorrect information” passed by the Yemeni command of the General Chief of Staff about a gathering of armed Houthi leaders in Sanaa for the deadly airstrike.
Yemen has been racked by chaos since late 2014, when the Houthis and their allies overran Sanaa and other parts of the country, forcing President Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi and his Saudi-backed government to temporarily flee to Riyadh.
The conflict escalated when Saudi Arabia and its Arab allies launched a massive military campaign in Yemen last year aimed at reversing Houthi gains and restoring Hadi’s embattled government.