(AGI) Sanaa, Dec. 6 - Luke Somers, the American photojournalistkidnapped by al-Qaeda in Yemen in September 2013, was killed inan attempt by American forces to free him, reported sources ofthe Yemeni government. The rescue operation, in which at least10 al-Qaeda militants were reportedly killed, was conducted byan American paratrooper unit in the region of Wadi Abdan AlDaqqar, in southern Yemen. Eye-witnesses reported shooting inNusab, an al-Qaeda stronghold in the Arabian peninsula. Shortlybefore the raid, the Yemeni Ministry of Defence had announcedon its website that Somers had been freed while American mediareported his death. Also South African teacher Pierre Korkie,who was abducted by al-Qaeda in May 2013, was killed in theraid, said the Gift of the Givers non-governmental organisationin a statement. The psychological and emotional devastation toKorkie's wife, Yolande, who was abducted with her husband inMay 2013 and later released, is compounded by the knowledgethat Pierre was soon to be released. News of the death of thetwo hostages was given by United States Secretary of Defense,Chuck Hagel, during a visit to Kabul. The raid was conductedbecause the life of the American reporter appeared to be inimminent danger, Mr. Hagel explained. Both prisoners had beenkept hostage by the terrorists for over a year. (AGI) . .