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Monday, December 8, 2014

U.S. Didn’t Know About South African Hostage In Yemen Raid

This is an undated photo provided by the Korkie family, of South African, Pierre Korkie. An American photojournalist and a South African teacher held by al-Qaida militants in Yemen were killed Saturday, Dec. 6, 2014, during a U.S.-led rescue operation that President Barack Obama said he ordered because of "imminent danger" to the U.S. hostage. (Korkie Family/AP)

Pierre Korkie, an American photojournalist and a South African teacher held by al-Qaida militants in Yemen, was killed Saturday, Dec. 6, 2014, during a U.S.-led rescue operation that President Barack Obama said he ordered because of “imminent danger” to the U.S. hostage. (Korkie Family/AP)

As U.S. Special Forces began the attack, an al-Qaida fighter killed both Luke Somers and fellow hostage Pierre Korkie, a South African national who was doing humanitarian work in the region. Korkie’s charity, Gift of the Givers, says they had successfully negotiated his release and he was expected to be freed shortly.

The U.S. was acting swiftly to rescue Somers before an al-Qaida-issued deadline to execute him. The American Ambassador to South Africa said today that, “We were unaware of negotiations for the release of Pierre Korkie and we were also not aware that Pierre Korkie was being held in the same space as Luke Somers.”

The deaths of both hostages point to the difficulty of rescue attempts and the limits of U.S. intelligence in the region.

Former senior intelligence officer with the CIA and Georgetown fellow Paul PillarĀ talks to Here & Now‘s Jeremy Hobson about the raid and what this means for the U.S.

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