A British-born U.S. photojournalist and a South African aid worker held hostage in Yemen by al Qaeda militants have been ‘murdered’ in a failed rescue attempt.

American citizen Luke Somers had been held hostage since September 2013 in Yemen’s capital Sana’a having moved to the country two years earlier.

The 33-year-old was reportedly shot by his captors as Navy SEAL Team six, made up of around 40 men, carried out a dramatic rescue bid in the Wadi Abdan region of the southern Shabwa province late on Friday night.

It is the second attempted extraction by special forces in as many months.

Another hostage, South African aid worker Pierre Korkie, was also killed during the operation – a day before he was due to be released.

According to the Wall Street Journal the commandos hiked for six miles through a mountain range to reach the village where he was being held.

They were only 100 yards away from the compound when the terrorists reportedly heard a dog bark – prompting the militants to shoot the pair dead.

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