British hostage incredibly grateful' for rescue from the hands of al-Qaeda in Yemen

A British hostage says he is "delighted and relieved" to be home after being held in Yemen for 18 months.

Bob Semple, 64, said he was "incredibly grateful" to all those who had supported his family - and to United Arab Emirates forces who freed him.

He was kidnapped in February last year, with the UAE state news agency saying he was held by al-Qaeda.

The oil industry worker from Southampton said he planned to enjoy some "much-missed time with my family".

On Sunday, Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said a British national, now known to be Mr Semple, had been "extracted by UAE forces in a military intelligence operation".

Media 'restraint'

In a statement issued through the Foreign Office, Mr Semple said: "My wife Sallie and I want to thank all the people who supported us through this ordeal: especially the Foreign Office, Hostage UK, the police, our family, friends and well wishers, and the UAE forces who secured my release.

"We are incredibly grateful to you all.

"We would also like to thank the media for showing restraint during my 18 months in captivity, and I ask that this continues, allowing me to enjoy some valuable and much-missed time with my family.

"It is great to be home."

BBC security correspondent Frank Gardner said Mr Semple had been working in Hadramawt, a remote province in eastern Yemen, when he was bundled into a car at gun point.