Saudi security forces have rescued two young German girls in Yemen whose kidnapping sparked mass protests last year.
The girls, aged 3 and 6, were members of a German family of five taken hostage with four other foreign nationals by suspected Al-Qaeda militants almost a year ago.
German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle told reporters in Berlin: “The two girls are now in safe hands with the Saudi authorities. Considering the circumstances they are doing well.”
The girls parents’, younger brother and a British national remain in captivity.
The two sisters were found during cross-border raids by the Saudis in a village in the northern Yemeni region of Saada.
A total of nine hostages were seized last June, of which three women – two Germans and a South Korean – were later found dead.
Kidnappings are common in Yemen´s tribal regions where foreign hostages are used to extract concessions from the government.