IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Statement by Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel on the Death of Luke Somers


Yesterday, by order of the president of the United States, U.S. Special Operations Forces conducted a mission in Yemen to rescue a U.S. citizen, Luke Somers, and any other foreign nationals held hostage with him by Al-Qa'ida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) terrorists. There were compelling reasons to believe Somers' life was in imminent danger.

Both Somers and a second non-U.S. citizen hostage were murdered by the AQAP terrorists during the course of the operation. On behalf of the men and women of the U.S. armed forces, I extend our condolences, thoughts, and prayers to their families and loved ones.

Several of the AQAP terrorists holding the hostages captive were killed in the mission.

The rescue attempt took place in central Yemen and was conducted in partnership with the Government of Yemen. I thank President Hadi, the Yemeni government, and Yemen security forces for their assistance and cooperation.

Yesterday's mission is a reminder of America's unrelenting commitment to the safety of our fellow citizens - wherever they might be around the world.

I commend the troops who undertook this dangerous mission. Their service and valor are an inspiration to all of us.