SANAA, Yemen, Oct. 15 (UPI) — Two U.S. hostages in Yemen were released Saturday an a Navy warship was fired on for a third time amid escalating conflicts with Houthi rebels who control much of the country.
The hostages, who were not identified, were transported from Yemen to neighboring Oman, the State Department said.
“We welcome reports that two U.S. citizens who had been detained in Yemen were released and have arrived safely in Oman. Consular officers from the U.S. embassy in Muscat stand ready to provide all possible consular assistance,” the State Department said.
U.S. diplomats also recognized the “humanitarian gesture” on the part of the Houthi rebels to release the captives.
NBC News reported the Navy destroyer the USS Mason was on routine patrol in international waters of the Yemeni coast in the Red Sea when it was targeted by ground forces in Oman. The ship took evasive action and was not struck.
Houthi rebels, armed by Iran, fired missiles at a U.S. warship earlier this week, missing their intended targets. The Pentagon responded by destroying radar stations that operate the rebels’ missiles.
Previously, the United States has been providing logistical support for a campaign against the Houthis in Yemen that has been led by Saudi Arabia. The radar bombings were the first time the U.S. military was drawn directly into the fray.
Pentagon spokesman Peter Cook said the military would continue to respond if hostilities continue.
“We will respond if our forces come under fire,” Cook told reporters Thursday. “We have taken swift action in this case, and should we see a repeat, we are prepared to take appropriate action at the appropriate time.”