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U.S. Condemns 'Barbaric Murder' Of Hostage By Qaeda Group; South African Also Killed

A video grab from a terrorist group's media arm shows U.S. hostage Luke Somers calling for help and saying his life is in danger.

A video grab from a terrorist group's media arm shows U.S. hostage Luke Somers calling for help and saying his life is in danger.

U.S. President Barack Obama has condemned the "barbaric murder" of U.S. journalist and hostage Luke Somers by Al-Qaeda in Yemen during a rescue attempt.

U.S. officials said a "foreign national hostage" was also killed by his captors during the operation.

Obama, in a statement on December 6, vowed Washington would "spare no effort to use all its military, intelligence and diplomatic capabilities to bring Americans home safely, wherever they are located."

Obama said, "The callous disregard for Luke's life is more proof of the depths of AQAP's [Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula] depravity, and further reason why the world must never cease in seeking to defeat their evil ideology."

The hostage killed along with Sommers was later identified as South African national Pierre Korkie, a worker for the charity Gift of the Givers.

Gift of the Givers said the organization had been negotiating for the release of Korkie and that he was due to be freed on December 7.

Korkie and his wife Yolanda, who had worked as teachers in Yemen for four years, were seized by Al-Qaeda militants in the city of Taez in May 2013. Yolanda was later freed.

Yemen's Defense Ministry said 10 militants were killed in the raid, which the ministry said involved U.S. and Yemeni forces.

The Yemeni Defense Ministry said the raid happened in the Wadi Abdan Al Daqar region of Shabwa Province in southern Yemen and targeted an AQAP group headed by "Mubarak al-Harad."

U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said the rescue attempt was justified because there were "compelling reasons to believe Mr. Somers' life was in imminent danger."

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry issued a statement that said: "Earlier this week, AQAP released a video announcing that Luke would be murdered within 72 hours. Along with other information, there was a compelling indication that Luke’s life was in immediate danger, and so we recommended that the President authorize an attempt to rescue Luke. Tragically, Luke and a foreign national hostage were killed by their captors during the course of that operation."

Yemen's local Al-Qaeda branch, Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula posted a video on December 4 that showed Somers alive. The group threatened to kill him in three days if Washington did not meet the group's demands, which were not specified.

Kerry said the AQAP killings "have again demonstrated their cruelty and their disdain for human life, freedom, and the Yemeni people whom they terrorize daily."

Somers was kidnapped in September 2013 from the Yemeni capital, Sanaa.

Based on reporting by AFP and Reuters