US tried to rescue hostages held by al Qaeda in Yemen

The US has conducted rescue operation to free a number of hostages, including American citizen Like Somers, held in Yemen by al Qaeda in Arabian Peninsula, the Pentagon said on Thursday.

PTI| Last Updated: Dec 05, 2014, 00:55 AM IST

Washington: The US has conducted rescue operation to free a number of hostages, including American citizen Like Somers, held in Yemen by al Qaeda in Arabian Peninsula, the Pentagon said on Thursday.

"This operation was conducted in partnership with the armed forces of Yemen and involved air and ground components. Some hostages were rescued, but others - including Somers - were not present at the targeted location. Details about the mission remain classified," Pentagon Spokesperson Rear Admiral John Kirby said in a statement.

"We are only acknowledging the fact of the operation now to provide accurate information given that it is being widely reported in the public domain," he said.

The US is committed to the safety and well- being of its citizens, particularly those suffering in captivity.

"We use the full breadth of our military, intelligence, law enforcement, and diplomatic capabilities to bring people home whenever we can. The US will not tolerate the abduction of our people, and will work tirelessly to secure the safety of our citizens and to hold their captors accountable," he said.

In a statement, the White House said it is aware of a video showing Somers held hostage by AQAP.

"Last month, the President authorized an operation to rescue Luke, who has been held hostage by AQAP in Yemen since September 2013, and a number of other hostages. As soon as the US Government had reliable intelligence and an operational plan, the President authorized the Department of Defense to conduct an operation to recover Somers," said Bernadette Meehan, Spokesperson of National Security Council.

Regrettably, Luke was not present, though hostages of other nationalities were present and were rescued, she said, adding that the mission was coordinated with the Yemeni government and was undertaken by US and Yemeni forces.

"We have a strong, collaborative relationship with the Yemeni government and will continue to work together to counter the shared threat we face from AQAP," she said.