SEIYUN, Yemen, Nov. 27 (UPI) -- A kidnapped American journalist was a key rescue target in a major Yemen operation by U.S. Special Operations commandos, but troops failed to locate him, officials have revealed.
The pre-dawn raid this week, carried out by the U.S. forces and Yemeni troops, did find and free eight other al-Qaida hostages, but the journalist wasn't at the location.
The journalist's name is being withheld by media outlets and the White House to help protect his life.
An Ethiopian, Saudi and six Yemenis were freed. One of the Yemenis reported that five other hostages — including the journalist, a South African and a Briton — had been moved just two days before the troops descended on the hideout cave in a remote region of eastern Yemen.
Yemeni intelligence had reported that 11 shackled hostages had been transported by al-Qaida to a cave about 65 miles from Seiyun city, and that some of the hostages were foreigners.
Some 24 members of the Navy's elite SEAL Team 6 and U.S.-trained Yemeni counter-terrorism soldiers flew by helicopter to a spot in Hadhramaut Province near the Saudi border. They then hiked in the dark to the mountainside cave, where the hostages were being held.