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SA hostage Pierre Korkie killed in Yemen

Korkie was killed during crossfire when American Special Forces were attempting to free a US hostage.

The Korkie family with father Pierre, in the background. He was kidnapped by al-Qaeda in Yemen in May 2013. Picture: Gift of the Givers

CAPE TOWN - Humanitarian organisation Gift of the Givers confirmed to Eyewitness News that South African hostage in Yemen, Pierre Korkie was killed.

Korkie and his wife Yolande were taken hostage by al-Qaeda militants in May 2013 in Ta'iz, Yemen.

She has since been released after Gift of the Givers helped negotiate her freedom.

The organisation says Korkie was shot dead in crossfire during a rescue attempt by American Special Forces to free a US hostage.

Chairperson of the organisation, Dr Imtiaz Sooliman said, "Our heartfelt condolences to Yolande and her family in this hour of great difficulty."

LUKE SOMERS

It is alleged that American photojournalist, Luke Somers, was the American citizen killed during failed rescue attempt.

International media reports quoted his sister, Lucy, as saying that she and her father learned of her 33-year-old brother's death from FBI agents this morning.

Somers was kidnapped in September 2013 from capital of Yemen, Sanaa.

Yemen, which borders the world's top oil exporter, Saudi Arabia, is home to al-Qaeda Arabian Peninsula, which Washington regards as one of the most active branches of the network founded by Osama bin Laden.

The Pentagon said in 2012 the United States had resumed on-the-ground military training to bolster Yemen's fight against al-Qaeda.

Kidnapping is common in Western-backed Yemen, which is battling not only an al-Qaeda insurgency, but also a southern separatist movement and sporadic conflicts with armed tribes.