Pentagon admits failing in rescue attempt

2014-12-04 21:28
Smoke rises during clashes between tribesmen loyal to Sheik Sadeq al-Ahmar, the head of the powerful Hashid tribe, and Yemeni security forces in Sana’a, Yemen. (Hani Mohammed, AP)

Smoke rises during clashes between tribesmen loyal to Sheik Sadeq al-Ahmar, the head of the powerful Hashid tribe, and Yemeni security forces in Sana’a, Yemen. (Hani Mohammed, AP) (Hani Mohammed)

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Washington - The Pentagon has confirmed that a hostage rescue mission last month in Yemen failed to free American Luke Somers because he was not present at the targeted location.

The Pentagon press secretary, Rear Admiral John Kirby, said in a brief written statement on Thursday that the US government was acknowledging the attempted rescue of the 33-year-old Somers, the only American among the roughly dozen hostages held by al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, a Yemen-based al-Qaeda offshoot.

Kirby said the Pentagon wanted to "provide accurate information" in light of the fact that the rescue attempt has been widely reported. Eight hostages were rescued, as has been reported previously.

A Yemeni official said an American journalist and a Briton were moved before the raid.

Kirby said details about the mission remain classified.

In a video, al-Qaeda's branch in Yemen on Thursday threatened to kill Somers, who was kidnapped over a year ago, giving Washington three days to meet unspecified demands and denouncing US actions in the country.

The video mimicked some of those used by al-Qaeda rivals from the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) group, which has beheaded several American and British hostages in the aftermath of a summer blitz that captured much of Iraq and Syria. 

Read more on:    us  |  yemen

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