Yemen: family of U.S. hostage pleads for abductors' mercy

Somers' life at risk, US operation to free him has failed

05 December, 11:13

    US photojournalist Luke Somers, who has been detained by al Qaida in Yemen for over a year US photojournalist Luke Somers, who has been detained by al Qaida in Yemen for over a year

    (ANSAmed) - NEW YORK - Paula, mother of US photojournalist Luke Somers, 33, who has been detained by al Qaida in Yemen for over a year, pleaded for his abductors' mercy in a video posted to YouTube, after reports said a recent US operation to free him failed.

    The journalist's brother Jordan also appears in the video, explaining that the family was unaware of the operation to free Luke carried out by special US forces. His brother, he said, is only a photojournalist and is not responsible for actions carried out by the US government.

    Though Luke Somers is detained by al Qaida and not by ISIS, he risks being executed any time, according to what the hostage himself has said in a dramatic video, full of tension and threats, recently posted by the Yemeni-Saudi branch of the terror group. An al Qaida commander in the video gave Obama ''three days'' to satisfy the group's demands, ''which he knows very well'', and avoid ''thoughtless actions'' - or authorize other operations to attempt to release him.

    Yesterday, Admiral John Kirby, a Pentagon spokesman, admitted that the US recently tried to rescue some hostages, including Luke Somers, detained by al Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula.

    Some hostages, he said, were rescued but others, including Somers, were not, adding that details on the operation remain ''classified''.

    A few days ago, the New York Times reported that eight hostages - six Yemeni, a Saudi and an Ethiopian national - detained by al Qaida in a cave in eastern Yemen were released in an operation carried out by a Navy Seal unit and special units of the Yemeni army.

    One of the main objectives of the operation, the NYT reported, was to free the American hostage, who was however not there. Another five hostages - including a Briton and a South African - were not in the location as they had been moved by their abductors two days before the raid, according to accounts provided by the released hostages.

    The outcome was similar to that of an operation conducted by Navy Seal and Delta Force units in July in Syria in an attempt to free US journalists James Foley and Stevel Sotloff, who were subsequently beheaded by jihadists from the Islamic State. In that event, no hostage was found.

    Yemeni sources told the NYT that in the recent operation attempting to free Somers at least seven al Qaida militants were killed by Navy Seal officers - suggesting that Somers' captors could be even more keen on revenge.(ANSAmed).

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