MOSCOW, December 7 (Sputnik) – One more hostage held by Al Qaeda militants in Yemen has been killed in a failed US rescue operation.
South African teacher Pierre Korkie, who has been kept captive together with the US photojournalist Luke Somers, was killed in a rescue attempt by American Special Forces, says the official statement of the “Gift of the Givers” Foundation, the charity Korkie was working with.
“The psychological and emotional devastation to […] the family will be compounded by the knowledge that Pierre was to be released by Al Qaeda tomorrow,” says the statement on the official website of the foundation. “A team of Abyan leaders met in Aden this morning and were preparing the final security and logistical arrangements, related to hostage release mechanisms, to bring Pierre to safety and freedom”.
“All logistical arrangements were in place to safely fly Pierre out of Yemen under diplomatic cover, then to [have him] meet with family members in a "safe" country, fly to South Africa, and directly to hospital for [a] total medical evaluation and appropriate intervention,” said the statement.
The source added that the raid in southern Yemen was launched because “they believed there was an immediate threat to Somers' life”.
Some 40 special forces took part in the rescue attempt, which came after drone strikes in the area, the BBC quotes other US officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, as saying.
The rescuers reportedly landed by helicopter around 10 km from the compound where the hostages were being held.
A gunfight broke out when they were spotted by the militants, one of whom was briefly seen entering the compound.
US officials believe this was when the hostages were shot.
Pierre and Yolande were taken hostage in Taiz, Yemen, in May 2013, says the statement of the “Gift of the Givers” It's eleven months since Yolande has had no contact with Pierre since being freed by Anas Al Hamati from "Gift of the Givers" on January 10, 2014.