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American journalist held prisoner in Yemen freed, flown to Oman

By
Andrew V. Pestano
Casey Coombs, an American journalist, was being held by Houthi rebels in Yemen. Photo courtesy of Casey Coombs/Twitter
Casey Coombs, an American journalist, was being held by Houthi rebels in Yemen. Photo courtesy of Casey Coombs/Twitter

SANAA, Yemen, June 2 (UPI) -- Casey Coombs, a journalist who was among four U.S. citizens held captive by Houthi rebels in Yemen, has been freed and flown out of the conflict-stricken country.

The Department of State confirmed onday that Coombs, a freelance journalist who wrote for publications including the Intercept, arrived in stable condition at Muscat, Oman, where he was greeted by the U.S. ambassador to Oman at the airport.

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"We are grateful to the government of Oman and Sultan Qaboos for assisting with the safe passage of a U.S. citizen to Oman," a State Department official told Foreign Policy.

Jill Hammill, Coomb's mother, confirmed that her son was flown out of Yemen after being detained last month.

"I'm just overjoyed that this happened the way it has," Hammill told The Washington Post. "It's been a long and horrible ride, and this is a great outcome."

Coombs, raised in Salt Lake City, Utah, had been reporting from Yemen since 2012.

At least three other U.S. citizens are believed to be prisoners of Houthi rebels, who have taken control of significant parts of Yemen and are subject to aerial bombings from a coalition led by Saudi Arabia.

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The condition of the other U.S. citizens imprisoned in Yemen is unknown. They are reportedly being held in Sanaa, Yemen's capital.

More than 1,600 people have been reportedly killed in the Saudi-led airstrikes in Yemen.

According to the United Nations, up to 300,000 Yemenis have fled their homes and 12 million lack sufficient food, clean water, fuel or basic medical care since the beginning of hostilities.

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