The US commandos who tried to rescue American Luke Somers in Yemen came agonizingly close to doing so, according to an account in the Wall Street Journal. It says that about 40 special-ops troops got to within 100 yards of the walled compound in silence about 1am local time. Then, "a noise, maybe a dog bark, alerted the militants to the raiders," writes Adam Entous, who spoke to US officials familiar with the rescue attempt. A 30-minute firefight ensued, during which officials think a militant from Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula slipped into the building where Somers was being held and shot him and South African hostage Pierre Korkie.
The US troops killed about 10 militants and managed to escape with the two wounded hostages, but one died in the military aircraft carrying him away and the other died on an operating table. "The callous disregard for Luke's life is more proof of the depths of AQAP's depravity, and further reason why the world must never cease in seeking to defeat their evil ideology," said President Obama, as per Reuters. Obama approved the raid, the second in two weeks to try to free Somers, after AQAP promised to kill the photojournalist later today. (Read more Luke Somers stories.)