The United States strongly condemns the barbaric murder of Luke Somers at the hands of Al-Qaida terrorists during a rescue operation conducted by U.S. forces in Yemen in partnership with the Yemeni government. "On behalf of the American people," said President Barack Obama, "I offer my deepest condolences to Luke’s family and to his loved ones."In addition, the President extended his condolences to the family of Pierre Korkie, the South African citizen who was also murdered by these terrorists during the rescue operation.
It is the President of the United States' highest responsibility to do everything possible to protect American citizens. As this rescue operation demonstrates, the United States will spare no effort to use all of its military, intelligence, and diplomatic capabilities to bring Americans home safely, wherever they are located.
Luke Somers was kidnapped fifteen months ago in Yemen and held hostage by Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, or AQAP. Since his capture, the United States has been using every tool at its disposal to secure his release. Recent intelligence indicated that Luke’s life was in imminent danger. Based on this assessment, President Obama authorized a rescue attempt of Mr. Somers in addition to the rescue of any other hostages held in the same location as Luke.
Mr. Somers was a photojournalist who sought through his images to convey the lives of Yemenis to the outside world. He came to Yemen in peace and was held against his will and threatened by a despicable terrorist organization. The callous disregard for Mr. Somers' life is more proof of the depths of AQAP’s depravity, and further reason why the world must never cease in seeking to defeat their evil ideology.
The United States remembers the Somers family as well as the families of those Americans who are still being held captive overseas and those who have lost loved ones to the brutality of these and other terrorists. "We remain determined to do our utmost to bring them home," said President Obama, "and to hold those who have done them harm accountable."