White House Rejects Delays in Failed Hostage Rescue Mission in Yemen

White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said that There had been no hesitation or delay in planning and approval of an operation that subsequently failed to rescue US journalist Luke Somers, held hostage by terrorists in Yemen.

WASHINGTON,  (Sputnik) – There had been no hesitation or delay in planning and approval of an operation that subsequently failed to rescue US journalist Luke Somers, held hostage by terrorists in Yemen, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said on Friday.

"I would reject in the strongest possible terms that there was any delay here at the White House in approving this mission," Earnest said at a press briefing.

He added that after the concept of the operation was approved by then-US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, it was scrutinized at the White House and approved immediately after the review was completed.

However, since it still is a classified operation, there are still "some significant limits on what can be said," Earnest continued.

On Thursday, Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby said that the US military had rescued some hostages held by extremists from al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula in Yemen, but failed to free others, including US journalist Luke Somers, as they "were not present at the targeted location."

After the rescue operation failed, terrorists threatened to kill Somers. The hostage was reportedly working in Yemen as a freelance journalist before being captured in the Yemeni capital Sanaa.

In August, the Obama administration made public that it had sent special operations troops into Syria to rescue US hostages, including journalist James Foley, who was executed by Islamic State militants in August.

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