SANAA, Yemen - Al-Qaeda blamed US President Barack Obama for the deaths of two hostages - an American photojournalist and a South African teacher - during a failed rescue attempt over the weekend, in a video message released Thursday.
"Obama made the wrong decision, and signed the death warrant for his American compatriot" Luke Somers, who along with South African national Pierre Korkie was killed on Saturday, Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) official Nasser bin Ali al-Ansi said in the video.
Somers and Korkie were shot and fatally wounded by their captors when US commandos stormed an Al-Qaeda hideout in southwestern Yemen.
The failed raid came just a day before Korkie was due to be released under a deal with the kidnappers.
US-based monitoring agency SITE Intelligence Group said Somers was seized in the Yemeni capital in Sep 2013. Korkie was abducted together with his wife in May 2013, but she was released in January.
AQAP, considered by Washington as the most dangerous affiliate of Al-Qaeda, has exploited instability in the impoverished country since a 2011 uprising forced president Ali Abdullah Saleh to step down.
And in recent years the group has carried out a growing number of abductions, with several hostages still in captivity.