An American hostage held for more than a year by al Qaeda’s Yemen branch and a South African were killed during a U.S. special operations forces raid Friday night, in the second rescue attempt in as many weeks.
Luke Somers, 33 years old, was killed by militants, U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said Saturday. Several members of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, or AQAP, were also killed in the raid.
South African teacher Pierre Korkie was also killed in the raid, according to a charity that had been trying to help negotiate his release.
Mr. Hagel said the raid was ordered by President Barack Obama because “there were compelling reasons to believe Mr. Somers’ life was in imminent danger.”
“Both Mr. Somers and a second non-U.S. citizen hostage were murdered by the AQAP terrorists during the course of the operation,” Mr. Hagel said in a statement.