Yemen's Qaeda threatens to kill US hostage in video

Followers of the Shi'ite Houthi group carry the coffin of a man killed by al Qaeda militants in Yemen's central city of Ibb, during a funeral procession in Sanaa November 30, 2014.

DUBAI - Al-Qaeda in Yemen released a video Thursday threatening to execute a US journalist taken hostage last year.

In the video dated December 2014, the hostage said his name was Luke Somers, 33, and that he was kidnapped more than a year ago in Sanaa.

The photojournalist was kidnapped in the Yemeni capital in September 2013, US-based monitoring agency SITE Intelligence said.

The video featured a message by Nasser bin Ali Al-Ansi, of Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), threatening to kill the hostage in three days if Washington failed to meet unspecified demands.

A Yemen defence ministry website said last week that Al-Qaeda had moved hostages including an American journalist, as well as a Briton and a South African, days before a raid in southeastern Hadramawt province to free him.

In the video, Ansi mentioned a "failed operation" in Hadramawt that left militants dead. He described it as the "latest foolish action" by the United States.

Yemen had confirmed the operation but made no mention of US forces taking part.

US media reported that American commandos had carried out the raid with Yemeni troops to try to free the US captive.

The New York Times said the commandos found eight other hostages during the raid, including six Yemenis, but not the American.

AQAP is considered by Washington as the most dangerous affiliate of Al-Qaeda, but it is not known for frequently executing foreign hostages.

The AQAP threat follows the execution of five Western hostages since August by the Islamic State group in control of parts of Syria and Iraq.

Two US journalists, James Foley and Steven Sotloff, American aid worker Peter Kassig, and British aid workers Alan Henning and David Haines were executed.

Yemen is a key US ally in the fight against Al-Qaeda, allowing Washington to conduct a longstanding drone war against the group on its territory.

The militant group has exploited instability in the impoverished country since a 2011 uprising overthrew president Ali Abdullah Saleh.