It is the early morning hours of December 6, 2014, and you find yourself armed with an AK-47 as a member of Al-Qaeda in Arabian Peninsula, or AQAP. The media calls you the most feared and capable al-Qaeda affiliated group in the world. You are standing over two hostages: an American photojournalist and a South African teacher. The South African’s release was secured through a $200,000 paid ransom, and you’re scheduled to return him to his family and friends in less than a day.

But less than two weeks ago, American commandos from SEAL Team 6, along with Yemeni special operations forces, raided one of your group’s hideouts in the middle of the night. From watching the Western media, you know the small details of the secret operation: In the dead of night, the commandos silently crept through the deserts of Yemen to a small cave in the mountainous region near the border with Saudi Arabia.

The Americans, armed with what were most likely suppressed MP7 sub-machine guns and HK416 assault rifles, entered the cave and immediately shot and killed seven of your fellow ‘brothers’. They rescued eight hostages. But the man they came for is now the same one sleeping on the ground in front of you—Luke Somers. The same one you and your group moved to this new location just two days prior to the American raid. You and the other members of your terrorist group have been on edge since that night. You have not slept well in two weeks. You don’t know if tonight will be the night the American commandos return.

The seven men they killed previously were some of the best fighters in the group. None of them managed to get a shot off when they were ambushed by the rescuers. You are told to kill both hostages immediately at the first sign of a second rescue attempt. As you fight the urge to fall asleep you hear it. Dogs barking, followed by the loud snap of suppressed rifle fire. Not a sound you have heard many times in your life, but you still recognize its distinctness. “The Americans are back!” a fellow fighter yells as he runs inside the building.

You stand up knowing what you must do as the two prisoners are startled awake from the gunfire outside. You raise your rifle without hesitation and open fire at point-blank range at the two hostages. You replace your used magazine with a fresh one and run outside to join the other men in repelling the American forces. You and five of your fellow fighters are killed minutes later.

Pierre Korkie

(Photo Courtesy: BBC)

It was the second hostage rescue attempt within 10 days to free the American citizen Luke Somers, born in the UK, but raised in Washington and California. The details of the November 26 rescue attempt weren’t publicly released until December 4, just two days prior to the second rescue attempt.