Luke Somers, an American hostage held by al-Qaida in Shabwa, Yemen, was killed in a rescue attempt early Saturday.
SEAL Team Six commandos and Yemeni counterterrorism troops entered the village in southern Yemen around 1 a.m. in an effort to rescue Somers, 33, but kidnappers killed Somers and Pierre Korkie, a South African teacher, The New York Times reports.
Ground reports indicate al-Qaida militants were warned of the attack and shot the hostages before attacking the commandos. Korkie died in the helicopter and Somers died after being flown to the U.S.S. Makin Island. A Yemeni tribal leader reports at least eight civilians were killed during the raid.
President Barack Obama authorized the Dec. 6 rescue attempt Friday after reports indicated Somers was in “imminent danger.” Maj. Gen. Ali al-Ahmadi, chief of the National Security Bureau in Yemen, said militants said they would kill Somers on Saturday. “It was an effort to save him,” al-Ahmadi said.
This was the second rescue attempt for Somers. The first attempt was delayed, and by the time rescuers arrived, Somers had been moved, a source involved in the operation told The Daily Caller. Somers lived in Yemen for several years before he was abducted in Sana in September 2013.
Obama addressed the rescue attempt in a statement Saturday: “It is my highest responsibility to do everything possible to protect American citizens,” he said. “As this and previous hostage rescue operations demonstrate, the United States will spare no effort to use all of its military, intelligence and diplomatic capabilities to bring Americans home safely, wherever they are located.”