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article imageAmerican photojournalist Luke Somers dies in botched Yemen raid

By Ken Hanly     Dec 6, 2014 in World
Sanaa - A senior official in the presidential office in Yemen said that Luke Somers died after reportedly being shot by his Al-Qaeda captors during a rescue attempt.
Somers, just 33 years old, had been abducted in September of 2013 by Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula(AQAP) when he was working as a freelance journalist for the Yemen Times. US Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel confirmed the death of Somers in the southern province of Shabwa.
Hagel said in a statement from Kabul Afghanistan: "Yesterday by the order of the president of the United States, US special operations forces conducted a mission in Yemen to rescue a US citizen Luke Somers and any other foreign nationals held hostage with him. There were compelling reasons to believe Somers' life was in imminent danger." AQAP had earlier released a video threatening to kill Somers unless the US met their demands. President Obama said that he had authorised the joint rescue operation because Somers' life was in danger. Obama said that the US will spare no effort to bring Americans home safely: "Terrorists who seek to harm our citizens will feel the long arm of American justice"
Somers also worked for Al Jazeera. Some of his excellent photos can be found here.
Another hostage, South African teacher Pierre Korkie, was also killed during the operation along with at least 10 fighters from AQAP. Korkie was due to be released on Sunday as noted in this article: The timing of the botched rescue mission is particularly tragic for Korkie, who the aid group Gift of the Givers said was due to be released on Sunday. The group said he was to be flown out of Yemen “under diplomatic cover" to meet with family members in a "safe" country before being flown home to South Africa.
The US had tried to free Somers earlier on November 25. They did rescue 8 captives but Somers and a number of others had already been moved. In the latest rescue mission a number of drone strikes targeted Al Qaeda positions in the area. A website close to Yemen's armed forces had announced erroneously earlier that it had launched a specialized and successful operation in Shabwa that led to Somers' release and the death of 10 Al Qaeda fighters.
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