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Huthi Rebels Release American Journalist Held In Yemen

Casey Coombs, a freelance journalist, was released by Yemen's Shiite rebel group as Oman mediated, the State Department said.

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Updated on

صورة لوصول مواطن أمريكي وآخر سنغافوري إلى مسقط تم العثور عليهما في اليمن بوساطة السلطنة..

A photo of Coombs arriving in Oman.

Casey Coombs, a U.S. citizen held by Shiite Huthi rebels in Yemen, was released on Monday, the State Department confirmed.

Coombs arrived safely in Muscat, Oman, following mediation by Omani authorities with the rebels. He is a freelance journalist who has been based in Yemen since February 2012 and has contributed to stories for BuzzFeed News and The Intercept.

Coombs was in a stable condition, said State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf. She did not specify what injuries he had.

Coombs is said to be one of at least one of four Americans who have been imprisoned by the Huthi rebels and are reportedly being held at a prison in the Yemeni capital of Sanaa, the Washington Post reported last week.

Harf did not provide details on the number or identities of other U.S. citizens held in Yemen. Three of the prisoners had private sector jobs and a fourth had dual U.S.-Yemeni citizenship, the Post reported.

In April, Coombs wrote about being stuck in Yemen for The Intercept, and his failed attempts to leave the country since the Saudi-led coalition of Arab countries retaliated against the Huthi rebels with airstrikes and ground forces in March.

Coombs wrote: "Like the hundreds — and possibly thousands — of other American citizens stuck in Yemen, I've been trying to leave since the Saudi-led air campaign started last month, compounding an already chaotic situation that resulted from the collapse of Yemen's government in January."

He also criticized the U.S. State Department and the International Organization of Migration's efforts to help him leave Yemen despite several attempts.

"From the start of the crisis, the U.S. State Department has been heavily criticized for not evacuating Americans from Yemen, even as India, Russia and other countries arranged flights and ships for their own citizens. Facing a public backlash, the State Department finally referred Americans to the International Organization of Migration, or IOM," Coombs wrote.

He wrote about the rebel-controlled life in Yemen, which has been thrown into chaos after the Huthis seized huge swathes of the country and forced its president into exile.

"So now, I spend my days trying to find the rare place with electricity, where I can use the Internet or charge my phone. At night, I listen as Saudi warplanes bomb the city. It's a tedious ritual," Coombs wrote.

Tasneem Nashrulla is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.

Contact Tasneem Nashrulla at tasneem.nashrulla@buzzfeed.com.

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