US journalist Casey Coombs has been released from Yemen and reached the Muscat airport in neighboring Oman in stable condition, US State Department spokesperson Marie Harf told reporters.
“US citizen Casey Coombs has departed Yemen and has arrived safely in Muscat, Oman. He is in stable condition,” Harf said on Monday.
Harf explained US Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Anne Patterson and one other official met Coombs at the Muscat airport and are “providing him with… consular assistance.”
Harf noted that several other Americans have been detained in Yemen, but declined to provide further details.
On Friday, The Washington Post cited US officials as saying that four Americans were being held captive in Yemen. The Washington Post said it withheld some details about the prisoners at the request of US officials and family members.
On May 5, 2015, Coombs said he had been trying to leave Yemen “since the Saudi-led air campaign started last month,” according to an article he published with The Intercept, an investigative news site.
Coombs explained his original flight was cancelled amid the airstrikes, and then realized there would be no commercial flights after Yemen’s international airport in the capital Sanaa was bombed.
On February 11, 2015, the United States suspended operations and withdrew staff from the US Embassy in Sanaa because of deteriorating conditions. All on-the-ground consular services for US citizens in Yemen continue to be suspended.
Yemen is currently facing violent clashes between several armed groups, including forces loyal to the country’s president Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi and Shiite Houthi rebels.
In March 2015, a Saudi Arabia-led coalition started airstrikes against Houthi positions in Yemen at the request of Hadi.
The Saudi-led campaign, dubbed Operation Decisive Storm, was replaced by Operation Restoring Hope in April, with the coalition saying it was halting military action in Yemen. However, coalition airstrikes have since continued in the country.