MOSCOW, December 6 (Sputnik) — President Obama has condemned the “barbaric murder” of British-born US photojournalist Luke Somers who was killed by al-Qaeda militants in Yemen, a White House statement said Saturday.
“The United States strongly condemns the barbaric murder of Luke Somers at the hands of Al-Qa'ida terrorists during a rescue operation conducted by U.S. forces in Yemen in partnership with the Yemeni government,” Obama said in the statement published on the government’s website.
“Terrorists who seek to harm our citizens will feel the long arm of American justice,” Obama added.
“Since his [Somers'] capture, the United States has been using every tool at our disposal to secure his release,” Obama said in the statement, adding that the “callous disregard” to Luke’s life gave further impetus for the international community to defeat Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP).
Luke Somers, a photojournalist, was kidnapped by AQAP in 2013. The militants had been demanding huge ransoms from the British and US governments for the release of the hostage. The respective governments do not meet the ransom demands of groups they consider terrorists.
Earlier this week, the terrorist group released a video warning that Somers would be killed within the next 72 hours, as confirmed by the White House statement. President Obama thereafter authorized a rescue attempt for Somers and other hostages held in the same location. Both Somers and another hostage, South African teacher Pierre Korkie, died in the crossfires during the rescue operations.
AQAP is a Sunni extremist group formed in 2009 and based in Yemen. The group has orchestrated numerous high-profile terrorist attacks, among them the failed attempt to detonate an explosive device in the US Northwest Airlines in December 2009.