Tags: Al-Qaida | War on Terrorism | somers | korkie | timeline | failed | raid

WSJ: Noise May Have Thwarted Somers Rescue Raid

By    |   Saturday, 06 December 2014 01:50 PM

U.S. commandos got to within 100 yards of the walled compound where al-Qaida-linked militants were holding American hostage Luke Somers and South African Pierre Korkie when a noise — possibly a dog barking — may have alerted people inside of the raid, U.S. officials briefed on the failed operation said Saturday.

Then the shooting started, The Wall Street Journal says in an analysis of the operation.

After about a 30 minute battle with the AQAP terrorists, the Special Operations team of about 40 fighters came out, still under fire and carrying the two badly wounded hostages, who medics were not able to save.

The operation to save Somers was ordered by the White House, after intelligence officials determined the AQAP militants had intended to kill him later on Saturday. The raid on the compound took place at about 1 a.m. local time, or 5 p.m. Eastern Standard Time.

"They were serious," a senior administration official told The Wall Street Journal. "They were going to execute him on Saturday."

American troops had already tried once to save Somers, who was taken hostage in September. Such rescue attempts, though, depend on fluid intelligence and are not always successful, retired U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Paul Vallely said Friday on Newsmax TV's "America’s Forum," hours before the fatal final rescue attempt was underway.

The 2011 commando raid that took out al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden was a much-celebrated success, but the reality is that many other attempted raids fail, reports The Wall Street Journal, including an attempt to free Americans being held by the Islamic State.

The last attempt to rescue Somers, which occurred last month, yielded information about the southern Yemeni compound that was raided on Saturday.

According to a timeline built from interviews with military officials, the plan to raid the compound was finalized late on Thursday and the Pentagon Special Operations Command had wanted to move quickly. President Barack Obama authorized the operation on Friday after receiving unanimous recommendation from his advisers, and Yemen's president was briefed and gave permission for the attack.

Intelligence agencies had been scoping out the compound for days after the failed first attempt to save Somers, reports The Wall Street Journal, and are not sure exactly what alerted the militants to their presence, which caused them to open fire immediately.

The Special Operations team knew the two hostages were being held in a small building inside one of the overall compounds four sections.

The troops knew one of the hostages was Somers, but did not know Korkie's identity until he was removed, injured, from the compound.

Just after the gunfire started, U.S. officials said, an AQAP militant ran inside the small building where the hostages were, and while they could not see what was happening, they believe that is when the men were shot.

Officials said they do not believe the hostages were shot by the commandos, as there was a wall between them and the building.

When the team and medics found the hostages still alive, the medics worked to stop their bleeding, and within a half-hour, the men were taken, under fire, and put on a V-22 Osprey aircraft, where a surgical team was working.

One man died on the Osprey, while the other died on an operating table on the amphibious assault ship USS Makin Island, which was waiting off the Yemeni coast. Officials are not saying which man died where.

Six AQAP fighters may have been killed in the raid, but none of the U.S. Special Forces troops were hurt.

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U.S. commandos got to within 100 yards of the walled compound where al-Qaida-linked militants were holding American hostage Luke Somers and South African Pierre Korkie when a noise - possibly a dog barking-may have alerted people inside of the raid, U.S. officials briefed...
somers, korkie, timeline, failed, raid, noise
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2014-50-06
Saturday, 06 December 2014 01:50 PM
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