Saturday, December 6, 2014

U.S: Al Qaeda kills hostages during SEALs raid on Yemen

An unfortunate outcome of course.  We should keep in mind the title of James Kyle's book on Operation Eagle Claw - "The Guts to Try."

The only good that could have come out of this would have been for the administration to establish a new precedent and not name the unit conducting the operation and discussing the details - lot of operational information  - launched from the USS Makin Island - CV-22 infil 10km from the objective, team compromised on the last 100 yards - surgeon aboard CV-22, etc.  We really should stop releasing the names of units and operational information.  Especially the names of units should not be released after the warnings on the military use of social media because of potential terrorist targeting.

U.S: Al Qaeda kills hostages during SEALs raid on Yemen

By Barbara Starr, Jim Sciutto and Ray Sanchez, CNN
updated 6:04 PM EST, Sat December 6, 2014


STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • State Department didn't know other hostage was South African, official tells CNN
  • Luke Somers "was really dedicated to Yemen," acquaintance tells CNN
  • Somers, a photojournalist, was captured in September last year
  • South African hostage Pierre Korkie was to be released on Sunday
(CNN) -- The element of surprise was lost in a failed U.S. military raid to rescue two Western hostages being held by al Qaeda militants in Yemen, a senior Defense Department official said Saturday.
American photojournalist Luke Somers and South African Pierre Korkie, a "respected teacher" who was to be released on Sunday, were fatally shot in the compound by a terrorist as the secret mission unfolded, a U.S. official said.
The relief group Gift of the Givers, which was helping secure Korkie's release, had recently informed his wife that "the waiting is almost over." CNN reported earlier that Korkie worked for Gift of the Givers, but the relief group said that he did not.
"Three days ago, we told her 'Pierre will be home for Christmas,'" said the group, which identified the South African hostage as Korkie. "We certainly did not mean it in the manner it has unfolded."
He was an "innocent man, a respected teacher," Korkie's wife, Yolande, said in a video made before his death.
President Barack Obama ordered Friday's mission because "there were compelling reasons to believe Mr. Somers' life was in imminent danger," Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said.
A video of Somers pleading for his life was released earlier this week by al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). The U.S. was given three days to comply with unspecified demand. Time was running out.
Arrangements for Korkie's release may have been missed by the White House.
The Obama administration assessed that there were two individuals at the location but did not know one was South African or that negotiations were underway for his release, a senior State Department official told CNN's Elise Labott.
Korkie and his wife were abducted in May of last year, but AQAP subsequently let her go. On Friday, a team of local leaders was finalizing arrangements to reunite Korkie with his wife and children, the relief group said in a statement.
Obama's decision
The President condemned AQAP's killing of the two hostages and explained his decision to authorize the rescue attempt.
"Earlier this week, a video released by his terrorist captors announced that Luke would be killed within 72 hours," Obama said in statement. "I also authorized the rescue of any other hostages held in the same location as Luke."
Secretary of State John Kerry said in a statement that the President had received a recommendation to authorize the operation.
Obama offered his condolences to Somers' family.
"I also offer my thoughts and prayers to the family of a non-U.S. citizen hostage who was also murdered by these terrorists during the rescue operation," the statement read. "Their despair and sorrow at this time are beyond words."
'They lost the element of surprise'
The operation took place Friday at 5 p.m. ET, a U.S. official told CNN's Barbara Starr.
On Thursday, the Defense Department became aware of enough new intelligence about the location of the hostages to stage a rescue mission, the official said. A senior Defense Department official traveling with Hagel in Afghanistan said that the operation was accelerated because there was intelligence that Somers would be killed on Saturday morning (Eastern time).
Obama and Hagel were briefed the next day.
Two Osprey aircraft transported a team of about three dozen U.S. Navy SEALs, mainly from SEAL Team Six, and a combat medical team near the captives' location. There were no Yemeni forces with the U.S. commandos.
(Continued at the link below)

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