UAE forces rescue British hostage during operation in Yemen port city

CAIRO (Reuters/AFP) - United Arab Emirates forces based in Yemen's port city of Aden, following an operation, have freed a British hostage who had been held by Al-Qaeda, state news agency WAM said on Sunday.

The hostage, who went missing in Feb 2014, was taken to Abu Dhabi on a military plane on Saturday night, the agency said.

Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan spoke to British Prime Minister David Cameron to tell him about the release on Saturday, WAM added.

"I'm pleased to confirm that a British hostage held in Yemen has been extracted by UAE forces in a military intelligence operation," Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said in a statement. "The British national is safe and well."

Mr Hammond added that Britain was "very grateful for the assistance of the UAE".

The statement did not identify the person or give any further details of the operation to free them.

Yemen has been wracked by conflict since March, when a Saudi-led coalition launched air strikes against Iranian-backed Huthi rebels.

Yemeni loyalists are backed by countries including Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

The war has killed nearly 4,500 people, many of them civilians, according to the United Nations.

Last year, British teacher Mike Harvey was released after being held for five months in Yemen following negotiations by the government in Sanaa.