US reveals failed attempt to rescue Luke Somers held hostage by Yemeni Al-Qaeda
Photojournalist Luke Somers appeared in a video released by al-Qaeda days before his death YouTube

The family of the British-born photojournalist killed in a failed rescue attempt by United States special forces on an al-Qaeda stronghold in Yemen, have said how they would have preferred a diplomatic approach to secure his release instead of force.

Luke Somers was killed by the al-Qaeda militants holding him, three days after appearing in a video warning that his life was in danger if the US did not meet the demands of the terror group.

However, his stepmother Penny Bearman, from Deal in Kent where Somers stayed in between assignments, told The Times that the family had been "kept in the dark" about the rescue mission and were only informed after his death.

She added that Somers' father was "quite angry" about the raid "because if there had not been a rescue attempt he would still be alive".

"There was also a rescue attempt a couple of weeks ago and we did not know about that until after the event."

Bearman also added that Somers would have been in favour of negotiations to secure his release rather than by force.

"We are sure that Luke would have given support to the ongoing discussions [to secure his release] in Yemen rather than the conflict approach. There had been threats before that had not been carried out," she said.

His half-sister, Lucy Somers, spoke of her brother's love for Yemen and wished his photographs to shed light on suffering in the country.

"The tragedy of his death, and injustice of how he was used, must be undone by the warmth, strength and humanity of his images," she said.

"He found a way of life and people that he loved in Yemen, and worked tirelessly to raise awareness where he saw suffering around him to join people together and help change situations for the better".

US President Barack Obama authorised the raid to save Somers because all of the intelligence "indicated that Luke's life was in imminent danger".

Somers and Pierre Korkie, a 57-year-old South African teacher, were killed in the gunfight between special forces and the radical Islamic militants which last for almost ten minutes.

Somers was kidnapped in September in the Yemeni capital, Sana'a, and was travelling on his American passport due to his dual citizenship.