An American journalist held hostage in a remote part of eastern Yemen by Al Qaeda’s affiliate there was one of the main targets of a predawn raid carried out this week by United States Special Operations commandos and Yemeni troops, according to American and Yemeni officials.
But when the commandos swooped in on the mountain cave where they believed the American was being held, they found eight other hostages, including six Yemenis, but not the American.
At the request of the Obama administration, The New York Times withheld this information in an article published online Tuesday and in print Wednesday out of concern that the publicity could jeopardize the American’s safety and future rescue attempts.
But in Yemen on Wednesday, the military gave an account from a freed hostage who told his rescuers that five other hostages — including the American journalist, a Briton and a South African — were moved from the cave two days before the raid. …
The commandos’ risky dash into a remote, oil-rich province crawling with militants belonging to Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula was organized on short notice, within two weeks of a request from President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi of Yemen to help rescue the captives, American officials said.