(WASHINGTON) — Two relief workers held hostage by kidnappers in northern Somalia since October were rescued Tuesday by Navy SEALs in a nightime raid.
One of the former captives was 32-year-old American Jessica Buchanan, who, with 60-year-old Poul Hagen Thisted from Denmark, worked for Danish Refugee Council.
The identities of their kidnappers is not yet known. The abductors apparently had no ties to any organized Somali terrorist group.
A U.S. official told ABC News the SEALs parachuted from a plane into the area near the compound where the aid workers were being held. A gunfight then ensued, and the SEALs were able to free both Buchanan and Thisted unharmed. The hostages were then taken by helicopter to the U.S. military’s Camp Lemonnier in Djibouti.
All of the nine captors were killed, according to the U.S. military, and none of the SEALs were said to have been hurt during the rescue operation.
President Obama may have tipped off the successful outcome of the mission before he gave his State of the Union address Tuesday night.
As he entered the House chambers, Obama pointed to Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and said, “Leon. Good job tonight. Good job tonight.”
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Ivana Kottasova, CNN
Alanna Petroff, CNN
Sugam Pokharel and AJ Willingham, CNN