Al-Qaida-linked militants have a special high-tech alarm system – barking dogs. The militants were holding American Luke Somers and South African Pierre Korkie in Yemen.
The White House ordered a commando operation to save Somers, because it was thought the AQAP terrorists would kill him. Commandos executed the raid on their compound around 1 a.m. local time, 2 p.m. Pacific Standard Time.
Unfortunately, a barking dog probably tipped off the terrorists, dooming both hostages. Apparently U.S. commandos were within 100 yards of the walled compound where al-Qaida-linked militants were holding the two men. The terrorists discovered the presence of the commandos, leading to a 30 minute battle between the terrorists and a Special Operations team of approximately 40 commandos, according to a report in The Wall Street Journal.
Somers had been a hostage since last September. Intelligence provided made it impossible to pinpoint Somers, so a previous rescue attempt was called off. But what the intelligence did yield was information about the southern Yemeni compound that was raided on Saturday.
In the second raid, the Special Operations team were aware that there were two hostages in a small building inside one of the four sections of the target compound. They knew one of the hostages was Somers, but not the identity of the other hostage.
Once the AQAP militants realized they were being targeted, they ran to the small building where the hostages were being held. The Special Operations team could not see what was happening, but it is assumed both men were shot multiple times.
The hostages were found barely alive, and within half an hour, the two injured men were taken away, under fire, to V-22 Osprey aircraft, and a surgical team. One man expired on the Osprey, and the other died during an operation on the amphibious assault ship USS Makin Island.
Six AQAP fighters were killed, according to the reports. No U.S. Special Forces troops were injured.
There is no indication the hostages were hit by fire from the commandos. It was reported that there was a wall between the commandos and the building where the men were being held.
A Wikipedia entry about Luke Somers references an Associated Press story that said this of Somers:
Somers was described by his friend as “a great man with a kind heart who really loves the Yemeni people and the country … He was so dedicated in trying to help change Yemen’s future, to do good things for the people that he didn’t leave the country [Yemen] his entire time here.” [AP]