Civilians also killed in Yemen raid: tribesmen

Seven civilians were killed in a US-Yemeni raid to rescue an American hostage at the weekend that also left him and a kidnapped South African dead, a tribal chief said Monday.

Tarek Ferid al-Daghari, who heads the influential Al-Awlaki tribe in Shabwa province, said his tribe would press for compensation from the Yemeni government over Saturday's raid.

“We call on the government in Sanaa to consider the case of seven civilians killed and that of a woman and child who were wounded for reparations,” Daghari told AFP.

He said the government should form a commission to investigate as there was “evidence Yemeni soldiers were involved” in the operation at a remote village in the southeastern province.

The United States has said that during the raid al-Qaeda militants murdered 33-year-old American photojournalist Luke Somers and 57-year-old South African teacher Pierre Korkie.

Daghari said the raid targeted three houses owned by three brothers, including a member of al-Qaeda, and the home of their 70-year-old father located about 150 metres (yards) away.

“Nearly five hours before the assault, the al-Qaeda insurgents, along with five other al-Qaeda members, including three Saudis, arrived with the two hostages for a stopover,” he said.

“But soon after their arrival, the assault against the three houses began” and “the three brothers and their father were killed.”

In total, the operation killed “two members of al-Qaeda and seven civilians, while a woman, a child and two Saudis were wounded,” said the tribal chief, adding that other militants were able to flee.

The Sanaa government has said that 10 suspected al-Qaeda militants were killed and four members of Yemen's security forces were wounded during the failed rescue operation.

The Yemeni forces accompanied US commandos in the raid, which came two days after Somers's kidnappers had issued a video in which they threatened to kill him within 72 hours.

Korkie, who was abducted in May 2013 in Yemen's second city of Taiz, was killed the day before he was expected to be released by his al-Qaeda captors.

Sapa-AFP

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