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Praise for Special Forces after Somalia hostage rescue

Two hostages – a man from Denmark and an American woman – were freed after the operation.

Obama calls Buchanan's father last night to inform him that his daughter was
Obama calls Buchanan's father last night to inform him that his daughter was "safe" in American hands.
Image: White House

THE SAME SEAL team that killed Osama Bin Laden was deployed last night to carry out a hostage rescue operation in Somalia, it has been revealed.

The Navy team were dispatched to Somalia to free American aid worker Jessica Buchanan and Danish man Poul Hagen Thisted who were both kidnapped on 25 October 2011.

US officials confirmed to the Associated Press that the hostage rescue was carried out by Navy SEAL team 6.

“As Commander-in-Chief, I could not be prouder of the troops who carried out this mission, and the dedicated professionals who supported their efforts,” Obama said in a statement this morning.

According to reports, the team parachuted into the area and reached the rescue site on foot. They were on the ground for about one hour and the raid was over by 3am local time.

According to the BBC, nine of the captors were killed during the mission. No casualties have been reported among US forces.

Buchanan, Thisted and their rescuers departed by helicopter and landed in nearby Djibouti.

Last night, Barack Obama could be heard saying “good job” to Defence Secretary Leon Panetta as he entered the house chamber ahead of his State of the Union address.

After his speech, Obama returned to the White House and telephoned Buchanan’s father to tell him that his 32-year-old daughter was on her way home.

Declining health

On NBC’s “Today,” Vice President Joe Biden said the US decided to move after determining that Buchanan’s health “was beginning to decline.”

The mission was approved on Monday by the President, according to a statement from the Pentagon.

Panetta said that both Buchanan and Thisted – employees of the Danish Demining Group – were kidnapped at gunpoint. He referred to the captors as criminal suspects and not Islamist al-Shabab militants.

“This is yet another message to the world that the United States of America will stand strongly against any threats to our people,” Obama added in his statement.

More than 150 people are being held hostage across various areas of Somalia. The captors are mainly pirates looking for ransom.

Buchanan and Thisted have been transported to a safe location where their health will be evaluated. Arrangements for them to return home will then be made, said Panetta.

Image: Jessica Buchanan, 32.

-Additional reporting by AP

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