Navy SEAL Team 6 Rescues Kidnapped Aid Workers in Somalia
Washington -- Freed hostages Jessica Buchanan and Poul Thisted arrived at a U.S. base in Sicily Thursday, a day after being rescued in a U.S. military raid in Somalia, a spokesman for the base said.

The pair are now at Naval Air Station Sigonella, said base public affairs officer Lt. Tim Page.

Buchanan's father John said earlier he hopes to be reunited with her Thursday, without saying where.

U.S. special operations forces parachuted into Somalia from fixed-wing planes in the early hours of Wednesday morning, then advanced on foot to a compound where the two kidnapped international aid workers were being held and freed them, U.S. officials said.

The nine gunmen holding the hostages were killed, the officials said.

Kidnappers seized Jessica Buchanan, 32, and Thisted, 60, on October 25 in Galkayo, central Somalia, after they visited humanitarian projects there, said the Danish Refugee Council, the agency for which they worked.

Neither was harmed, the aid group said.

President Barack Obama phoned John Buchanan to tell him Jessica had been rescued, Buchanan said, adding that the call had left him "flabbergasted."

"He said, 'John, this is Barack Obama. I'm calling because I have great news for you. Your daughter has been rescued by our military,'" Buchanan said.

"Then he referred to his daughters, obviously had a human element there. Then he said something to the effect of, 'People just can't do this to our citizens, especially young people who are trying to help others.'"

Buchanan said the operation left him with an overwhelming sense of patriotism.

"I'm extremely proud and glad to be an American," he said. "I didn't know this was going to transpire. I'm glad it did."

He said Jessica was "doing well, under the circumstances."

Somalia's transitional government welcomed the U.S. military operation Thursday.

The rescue of the aid workers "is a great joy to the Somali government and to all Somalis as well as to all right thinking people everywhere," the government said in a statement.

"Hitting them hard is the only language kidnappers of innocent people, pirates and terrorists understand, and every opportunity should be taken to wipe out this scourge from our country," the government said.

The new United Nations envoy to Somalia -- the first permanent U.N. representative there in 17 years -- also expressed understanding for the military operation.

"If negotiations fail, all means must be applied, including rescue operations," Augustine Mahiga said Thursday, even as he urged that lives be protected "on both sides."

Thisted's sister and brother-in-law wept for joy when they heard he had been rescued, his brother-in-law Svend Rask told Denmark's TV2.