Two hostages rescued by U.S. special forces in a daring raid in Somalia have been flown to an American naval installation in Italy, a U.S. defence official said on Thursday.

American Jessica Buchanan and Poul Hagen Thisted of Denmark were at Naval Air Station Sigonella, still readjusting after their three month hostage ordeal that ended on Wednesday with a dramatic rescue by the elite Navy SEALs.

Buchanan is being reunited with her father and husband there, the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Navy SEALs drawn from the same unit that killed al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in Pakistan last year parachuted into Somalia under the cover of darkness, killing the kidnappers and freeing the hostages.

President Barack Obama ordered the rescue operation, which also involved other U.S. forces, after intelligence emerged about the deteriorating health of Buchanan and the location of the hostages in Somalia.

(Reporting By Phil Stewart; Editing by Jackie Frank)