Al-Qaida’s branch in Yemen threatened an American hostage who was the target of a rescue attempt by U.S. special forces last month, warning Washington in a video released Thursday not to try again, and giving it three days to meet unspecified demands.
“My life is in danger,” photojournalist Luke Somers says in the footage, which appeared to mimic hostage videos released by al-Qaida’s rival, the Islamic State group.
It was the first word from the 33-year-old since he was snatched from the streets of Sana’a more than a year ago. He had been working for nearly three years in the impoverished Arab nation, “living as a normal Yemeni,” friends and colleagues told the AP.
A statement by Pentagon press secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby acknowledged for the first time Thursday that a raid last month had sought to rescue Somers, but that he turned out not to be at the site.
White House spokeswoman Bernadette Meehan also said Thursday that President Obama had authorized a rescue operation to free Somers and other hostages, but “regrettably, Luke was not present.”