SEAL Team Six spotlighted again in Somalia raid

American aid worker Jessica Buchanan
American aid worker Jessica Buchanan is seen in a photo from the Danish Refugee Council. Buchanan and a Danish colleague were freed from kidnappers in Somalia during a U.S. military on Jan. 24, 2012.
Danish Refugee Council

Updated at 10:34 a.m. ET

New details are emerging about a daring U.S. raid to free an American woman and Danish man who were kidnapped in Somalia and held hostage since October.

Jessica Buchanan and Poul Hagen Thisted were rescued when the U.S. Navy's SEAL Team Six, the same unit that conducted the Osama bin Laden raid (though not necessarily the same personnel), parachuted into Somalia under cover of darkness and engaged in a firefight with the captors, killing nine of them. Helicopters came in once the raid was in progress, extracting the hostages and the Navy SEALs.

The kidnappers were armed and had explosives nearby, according to U.S. officials. There were no U.S. casualties and both Buchanan and Thisted were said to be in good condition following the rescue.

SEALs frees U.S., Dane hostages in Somalia

The operation came together in the past week when the U.S. got intelligence on the location of the camp and word that Buchanan had a potentially life-threatening health condition if it went untreated. U.S. officials say the exact timing of the mission was determined by the weather and the fact that there was a new moon - not by the State of the Union address.

The president gave the decision to go Monday and it was carried out in the early evening Tuesday. By the time the president entered the House chamber to give his address, he knew the operation had succeeded, which is no doubt why he congratulated Defense Secretary Leon Panetta for a "good job, tonight." Panetta had come straight from the White House where he had been monitoring the operation.

Right after the speech, the president called Buchanan's father to tell him she was all right and on her way home. Buchanan will be given option of going to Landsthul in Germany for further treatment, but she can go straight home if she chooses.

Watch David Martin's full report in the video player above.

  • David Martin

    David Martin is CBS News' National Security Correspondent.