Two American women rescued from rebel-held Yemen in joint Saudi-US operation

Two American women rescued from rebel-held Yemen in joint Saudi-US operation
In an attempt to display US - Saudi unity amid disagreement over Russia's invasion of Ukraine, the Defence Ministry released details of the bi-lateral operation on Thursday.
2 min read
11 March, 2022
Saudi operatives reportedly took the women from Sanaa to Aden [Getty]

Two young Yemeni-American women have been "rescued" from Yemen in a shared operation between Saudi Arabia and the United States, the Saudi defence ministry said.

The two women were allegedly being held by Yemen's Houthi rebels in Sanaa, after travelling to visit their Yemeni grandmother. 

"During a family visit to Sanaa, two American citizens were grossly mistreated by Houthi forces, who restricted their movements and took away their passports," said Defence Ministry spokesperson Turki al-Maliki in his statement. 

Immediately after the rescue operation, Saudi operatives took the women from Sanaa to Aden, after which they were transported to Saudi Arabia to receive medical treatment. The identity of the women was not disclosed, nor was the length of their detention. 


According to Saudi sources, both women have since returned to the US - although no formal comment was made by Washington. Saudi officials did not release the date of the rescue from Yemen

"Responding to a U.S. request for special security assistance, the two citizens were rescued from Sanaa and taken to Aden by road, after which they were flown straight to Saudi Arabia," said al-Maliki.

The announcement, published by the Saudi Press Agency, was keen to stress that the joint operation showed good bi-lateral relationships with the US, which have been placed under strain by the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and the fallout for global oil supply.  

The war in Yemen started in 2014, the year the Houthi rebels took the capital Sanaa and vast swathes of other land. The Saudi-led coalition intervened shortly thereafter in 2015.

Human rights organisations have accused the Saudi-led coalition, rebels and others involved in the fighting of committing serious abuses.

The UN has called Yemen's war the world's worst humanitarian crisis.