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U.S. Confirms Attempted Rescue Of American Hostage Held By Al-Qaeda In Yemen

Luke Somers, a photographer, said his "life is in danger" in a 3-minute video uploaded by the terrorist group. The U.S. launched a rescue mission in Yemen last month, in which troops freed a number of hostages, but Somers was not one of them.

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Update at 1:00 p.m.: The National Security Council confirmed the rescue attempt in a series of tweets.

Last month POTUS authorized operation to rescue an American held hostage by AQAP in #Yemen since September 2013 & number of other hostages

@NSCPress@NSCPressFollow

Last month POTUS authorized operation to rescue an American held hostage by AQAP in #Yemen since September 2013 & number of other hostages

12:50 PM - 04 Dec 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

As soon as USG had reliable intelligence & operational plan POTUS authorized DoD to conduct an operation to recover the American #Yemen

@NSCPress@NSCPressFollow

As soon as USG had reliable intelligence & operational plan POTUS authorized DoD to conduct an operation to recover the American #Yemen

12:50 PM - 04 Dec 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

Regrettably, Luke was not present, though hostages of other nationalities were present and were rescued #Yemen

@NSCPress@NSCPressFollow

Regrettably, Luke was not present, though hostages of other nationalities were present and were rescued #Yemen

12:51 PM - 04 Dec 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

The mission was coordinated w/ #Yemeni government & was undertaken by U.S. and Yemeni forces

@NSCPress@NSCPressFollow

The mission was coordinated w/ #Yemeni government & was undertaken by U.S. and Yemeni forces

12:53 PM - 04 Dec 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

We have a strong collaborative relationship w/ #Yemeni government & will continue to work together to counter shared threat from AQAP

@NSCPress@NSCPressFollow

We have a strong collaborative relationship w/ #Yemeni government & will continue to work together to counter shared threat from AQAP

12:53 PM - 04 Dec 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

POTUS could not be prouder of US forces who carried out mission & the dedicated intel, law enforcement, & diplomats who supported the effort

@NSCPress@NSCPressFollow

POTUS could not be prouder of US forces who carried out mission & the dedicated intel, law enforcement, & diplomats who supported the effort

12:54 PM - 04 Dec 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

US will not tolerate abduction of our people & will spare no effort to secure safe return of our citizens & hold their captors accountable

@NSCPress@NSCPressFollow

US will not tolerate abduction of our people & will spare no effort to secure safe return of our citizens & hold their captors accountable

12:55 PM - 04 Dec 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

At this difficult time our thoughts remain w/ Somers family & families & loved ones of every other U.S. citizen being held hostage overseas

@NSCPress@NSCPressFollow

At this difficult time our thoughts remain w/ Somers family & families & loved ones of every other U.S. citizen being held hostage overseas

12:58 PM - 04 Dec 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

A new video by an al-Qaeda group shows Luke Somers, an American photojournalist, pleading for help as he is threatened with execution by the terrorist group's leader.

The 33-year-old was reportedly captured by al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) in the Yemeni capital of Sana'a in September 2013. Somers briefly appears at the end of the three minute video relaying this message:

"My name is Luke Somers. I'm 33 years old. I was born in England, but I carry American citizenship and have lived in America for most of my life. It's now been well over a year since I've been kidnapped in Sana'a. Basically, I'm looking for any help that can get me out of this situation. I'm certain that my life is in danger. So as I sit here now, I ask if anything can be done, please let it be done. Thank you very much."

The video, which was first reported by the terrorist monitoring service — SITE Intelligence Group — shows AQAP official Nasser bin Ali al-Ansi threatening to execute Somers in three days if the U.S. government did not meet the group's demands. He did not elaborate on what these "well known" demands were.

Ansi said that Somers will meet his "inevitable fate" adding, "We warn Obama and the American government of the consequences of proceeding ahead in any other foolish action."

Ansi also spoke about American crimes in the Muslim world and the U.S. government's recent actions in Yemen.

The video was made available a week after a U.S.-led operation rescued eight of the terrorist group's hostages from a cave in eastern Yemen, The New York Times reported.

Somers was originally intended to be rescued as part of the operation but he, along with many other hostages, had been moved out of the cave two days before the American and Yemeni operation, officials said.

Somers, who was born in the UK but spent most of his life in the U.S., worked as a freelance editor and photographer in Yemen.

At the time of his abduction, he was working as a translator for the National Dialogue Conference in Sana'a, ABC News reported.

He arrived in the country in 2010 on a teaching visa but began photographing civilian protests and uprisings for local and national news organizations.

Tasneem Nashrulla is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.

Contact Tasneem Nashrulla at tasneem.nashrulla@buzzfeed.com.

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