Kidnapped photojournalist Luke Somers was killed December 5 in the midst of a failed attempt by US forces to rescue him from al Qaeda militants holding him hostage in Yemen. Somers, 33, had been kidnapped in Sana’a, Yemen, in September 2013. He had been working in the country as a freelance photographer.
After President Barack Obama announced Somers’s death on Saturday, several news outlets that Somers had worked for, including Al Jazeera, and his agency, Corbis, shared samples of his photos, starting with images from Yemen’s revolution ousting President Ali Abdullah Saleh in 2011. Writer Tik Root of National Public Radio, who had crossed paths with Somers while they were covering Yemen, said the photographer’s work “reveals his deep and persistent love for the country.”
Last week, the photographer’s captors released a video threatening to kill Somers if the US did not meet their unspecified demands. According to CNN, The Yemen Times and other news outlets had pleaded for Somers’s release, noting days before his death that he “loves Yemen.”
Citing an anonymous source, BBC reports that Navy SEALs had tried to rescue Somers from the compound where he was being held, but a gunfight broke out when the militants spotted the SEALs. Somers was shot, and then evacuated to a US navy ship, where he died. Committee to Protect Journalists reports that this is the third attempt by US special forces to rescue hostages held in Syria and Yemen; all three failed to rescue captured journalists.