The Navy SEAL team that tried to rescue two captives of Al Qaeda in Yemen Friday took off from the San Diego-based amphibious assault ship USS Makin Island in the Gulf of Aden.
News services are reporting that a team of 40 landed from two V-22 Ospreys a few miles from the village where captives Luke Somers, an American, and Pierre Korkie, a South African, were being held.
As the American team approached, they saw a terrorist enter the building where the hostages were held and quickly exit, apparently after shooting them.
“There is zero possibility that the hostages were victims of cross fire,” a military official said. “This was an execution.”
Somers and his fellow hostage were still alive, and were evacuated to the Makin Island. Surgeons and medics worked on the two men on the way to the ship, but one died en route and the other in the ship’s hospital.
The Defense Department said all six of the Al Qaeda captors were killed in the operation and no U.S. military personnel were harmed.
“There is no excuse for the brutality and inhumanity of groups like AQAP and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant,” said Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. “We will relentlessly seek to protect our citizens and punish those who threaten us.”
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