Nour Ahmad Nikbakht, an administrative staff member of the Iranian Embassy in Sana'a, was kidnapped by al-Qaeda group at the capital of Yemen, Sana'a, on July 2013. He was held hostage for two years and rescued with a military operation by Iranian forces. Nikbakht was abducted while leaving his home in the Sana'a by gunman who was member of al-Qaeda.
On 21 July 2013, Nikbakht left his house in Sana'a and went to work. On the way, unidentified gunmen blocked the road and drove him out from his car and abducted him, taking him to an unknown location. After liberation, Nour-Ahamd stated: "I was kidnapped by unknown gunmen and terrorists as I left my home to go to work."
According to Yemeni tribal, Nour-Ahmad Nikbakht was held by al-Qaeda militants in an area between the southern provinces of Shabwa and Baida. Nour-Ahmad described his location and said: "I was in an extremely difficult situation and I did not know what was happening in the outside world."
On 14 August 2013, foreign ministry of Yemen claimed that it had no clues as to the whereabouts of the abducted Iranian diplomat.
Hossein Amirabdollahian, deputy of foreign minister, mentioned that a special group made at the Iran and Yemen foreign ministary to solve this issue. Also, he said: "the Yemeni government is responsible for the Iranian diplomat’s safety and his safe return to the country."
The Iran's foreign ministry summoned the Yemeni chargé d'affaires at the Tehran twice and announced that Yemen is responsible for Nikbakht’s safety.
One day before the release Iranian officials announced that Nikbakht is health.
Hossein Amirabdollahian, deputy of foreign minister, explained that intelligence officers did a difficult and complicated rescuing operation in a very special area in Yemen. He did not give more details about the operation.
Mahmoud Alavi, intelligence minister of Iran, declared that the rescue operation occurred with the fewest casualties. Also, Alavi said: "Tehran had refused the conditions set by the terrorists" for the diplomat's release."
On March 5, 2015, he moved to Mehrabad international airport and returned to his family, where he was greeted by his family and some Iranian officials.