American hostage dies in rescue attempt in Yemen

first_imgWASHINGTON — An American kidnapped more than a year ago in Yemen was killed during a U.S.-led military operation to rescue him, the Pentagon announced Saturday.Luke Somers, 33, a freelance photographer who’d been held by Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula since September 2013, was shot by his captors, the Pentagon said. A South African teacher, Pierre Korkie, who was being held with him, also was killed as were four Yemeni soldiers, the Yemeni government said.No U.S. military casualties were announced.It was the third failed effort by U.S. special forces to rescue a hostage held by terrorists since July, a reminder that special operations such as the one that resulted in the death of al-Qaida founder Osama bin Laden are incredibly risky undertakings that are as likely to fail as they are to succeed.The operation began at around 4 a.m. local time in the Nisab district of Yemen’s Shabwa province, a rugged area that has long been outside the control of Yemen’s central government.A team of about 40 special-forces operatives landed in two Osprey vertical-takeoff aircraft a few miles from the village of Abadan, where officials were “pretty certain” Somers and Korkie were being held in a building, a senior Defense Department official said. The U.S. team then walked to the site, the official said, in an effort to maintain an element of surprise.last_img