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Journalist Luke Somers Killed During Rescue Attempt

Freelance journalist Luke Somers was killed Saturday (Dec. 6) during a rescue attempt.

"The United States strongly condemns the barbaric murder of Luke Somers at the hands of Al-Qa'ida terrorists during a rescue operation conducted by U.S. forces in Yemen in partnership with the Yemeni government," President Barack Obama said in a statement. "On behalf of the American people, I offer my deepest condolences to Luke's family and to his loved ones."

Somers had been taken hostage 15 months ago.

The President said that in the interim the U.S. had been using "every tool at our disposal" to secure his release. Negotiating with terrorists and paying ransoms are not among those tools, however.

The rescue attempt came after a video was released last week warning that Somers would be killed within 72 hours.

"We remember Luke and his family, as well as the families of those Americans who are still being held captive overseas and those who have lost loved ones to the brutality of these and other terrorists.  We remain determined to do our utmost to bring them home, and to hold those who have done them harm accountable," the President said.

The Committee to Protect Journalists Saturday decried the murder of yet another journalist by terrorists. the third this year.

"Luke Somers went to Yemen to bring us the news. Instead he became the news at the hands of militants who increasingly use journalists as pawns in a murderous political game," said CPJ Deputy Director Robert Mahoney in a statement. "As journalists we must rally to continue the work of our fallen colleagues, to seek justice in their names, and to protect all those who go out in the field every day despite the danger."

Also killed during the rescue attempt was Somers fellow hostage, South African teacher Pierre Korkie.