American hostage Luke Somers killed in rescue attempt in Yemen
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By Troy Dredge, Catholic Online
12/7/2014 (4 years ago)
Catholic Online (https://www.catholic.org)
A militant jihadist reportedly "relieving himself" spotted U.S. forces in Yemen - who altered his superiors, whereupon American journalist Luke Somers along with South African hostage Pierre Korkie were killed by al-Qaeda operatives.
Luke Somers, who was born in Britain but had American citizenship, was working as a translator for the National Dialogue Conference when he was kidnapped last September.
LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Both Somers and Korkie were "executed" by their captors before the American team could get to them, a defense official said.
"The United States strongly condemns the barbaric murder of Luke Somers at the hands of al Qaeda terrorists during a rescue operation conducted by U.S. forces in Yemen," U.S. President Barack Obama said.
Both Luke Somers and Pierre Korkie were "executed" by their captors before the American team could get to them, a defense official said.
"Earlier this week, a video released by his terrorist captors announced that Luke would be killed within 72 hours. Other information also indicated Luke's life was in imminent danger. Based on this assessment, and as soon as there was reliable intelligence and an operational plan, I authorized a rescue attempt yesterday.
"On behalf of the American people, I offer my deepest condolences to Luke's family and to his loved ones," the President said.
The 33-year-old Somers appeared last week in a hostage video put online by AQAP in which the terror group said they were going to kill him in three days if their demands were not met. A team of U.S. Navy SEALs, along with Yemeni commandos, had attempted to rescue Somers in a raid similar to the one on Friday, but he had been moved to another location.
The U.S. government found Somers again, however, and launched the second rescue attempt at 1 a.m. local time Saturday. The special operations team infiltrated first by Osprey aircraft and then on foot.
Operatives worked in a difficult, mountainous terrain. The 40-man team was met with gunfire, according to the administration official. Commandos were spotted as they were setting up a perimeter when one of the al-Qaeda fighters came outside. Somers was found at a site where the U.S. hostages have been held previously.
"There is zero possibility that the hostages were victims of cross fire," a military official said. "This was an execution."
No American warfighters were injured in the raid, but six AQAP fighters were killed.
The entire operation took 30 minutes. Yemen approved and cooperated with the operation, but Yemeni forces weren't involved in the attempted rescue.
"AQAP knows how to hate, they know how to murder, and now they have robbed a family of an idealistic young photojournalist who went to Yemen to practice his calling and document the lives of ordinary Yemenis," Secretary of State John Kerry said.
Somers, who was born in Britain but had American citizenship, was working as a translator for the National Dialogue Conference when he was kidnapped last September. He wasn't seen until the hostage video was released by AQAP.
Copyright 2019 - Distributed by THE CALIFORNIA NETWORK
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