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Obama Says He Ordered Rescue Of Kidnapped Aid Workers In Somalia

Jessica Buchanan (right) and Poul Thisted had been held by Somali kidnappers since October 2011.
U.S. President Barack Obama says he ordered a raid by U.S. Special forces that rescued two kidnapped Western aid workers who had been held in Somalia since October.

In a January 26 letter to Congress, U.S. President Barack Obama said he gave the command on January 24 to launch a mission to rescue American Jessica Buchanan, 32, and Danish national Poul Thisted, 60, who had been kidnapped by a group "linked to Somali pirates and financiers" in the impoverished, largely lawless east African country.

According to unnamed U.S. officials quoted by news agencies, the operation was conducted by the elite SEAL Team 6 special operations forces -- the same team that conducted the raid on former al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden's Pakistan compound in May 2011.

Nine kidnappers were reportedly killed in the operation.

According to defense officials, the aid workers have been flown to a U.S. naval station in Italy.

with agency reports