Date
12 December 2017
This screen grab released by Al Qaida purports to show American journalist Luke Somers as he speaks in a propaganda video. Somers was killed with a fellow hostage in Saturday's failed rescue. Photo: Reuters
This screen grab released by Al Qaida purports to show American journalist Luke Somers as he speaks in a propaganda video. Somers was killed with a fellow hostage in Saturday's failed rescue. Photo: Reuters

Wife of dead hostage in botched US rescue chooses to forgive

Fears are growing over at least two remaining Al Qaida hostages after a botched rescue by United States special forces in which two western captives were killed.

The remaining hostages are being held by the group in Yemen where Al Qaida operates with Yemeni and Saudi allies.

Their exact whereabouts are not known.

On Saturday, American journalist Luke Somers, 33, and South African teacher Pierre Korkie, 56, were shot and killed by their captors during the raid intended to free them, Reuters reported, citing US officials. 

Korkie had been expected to be released on Sunday.

A woman, a 10-year-old boy and a local al Qaida leader were among at least 11 people killed.

US special forces raided the village of Dafaar in Shabwa province, a militant stronghold in southern Yemen, shortly after midnight on Saturday, killing several members of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP).

AQAP was formed in 2006 by the merger of the Yemeni and Saudi branches of the network.

In recent months, however, it has been overshadowed by the self-proclaimed Islamic State (IS) in Syria and Iraq.

Although AQAP has denounced IS, western diplomats say there may be operational connections between the two.

South Africa did not blame the US for Korkie’s death and his wife, who was released in January after being held with her husband said she chose to forgive and “rejoice in the memories of Pierre and keep him alive in our hearts”.

No ransom was paid for Korkie as his kidnappers eventually relented on an earlier demand for US$3 million, the report said, citing Gift of the Givers, the relief group that had tried to secure his release.

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