American photojournalist Luke Somers and South African teacher Pierre Korkie died in Yemen after al-Qaeda militants, tipped off by a barking dog to an approaching U.S.-led rescue mission, shot their captives before being killed themselves. It has been revealed Korkie, 56, was due to be released on Sunday, but President Barack Obama authorised the raid because information “indicated that Luke’s life was in imminent danger.” Somers, 33, was captured in September 2013 in the Yemeni capital, Sana’a. Mr. and Mrs. Korkie were taken hostage by al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) in May 2013 - though Mrs. Korkie was released earlier this year.
There is nothing to indicate what or how these guys (the AQAP) knew the team was about to enter the compound.
The operation began about 1 a.m. Yemen time. About 40 U.S. commandos were dropped by CV-22 Osprey aircraft about 10 kilometers from the compound in a spot shielded by hilly terrain. They traveled on foot, accompanied by Yemeni allies, to the compound with the aid of night-vision equipment. When they were about 90 meters away, a barking dog betrayed their presence, U.S. officials said. The militants shot the hostages before the commandos could reach them inside the compound, which was divided into four smaller interior compounds. A U.S. surgical team treated the wounded hostages while under fire and they were placed in an Osprey for evacuation. Both hostages were pronounced dead when they reached the U.S.S. Makin Island, which was located off the coast of Yemen. The assault was over in less than 30 minutes, U.S. officials said. Four Yemeni counterterrorism troops were wounded and 10 militants were killed. The raid, along with Saturday’s mission and a failed attempt to rescue American journalist James Foley in July, have raised questions over the quality of intelligence used by Washington in attempts to free American hostages.