Britain condemns US hostage murders, salutes rescue bid

LONDON (REUTERS) - British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond condemned the murders of two hostages being held in Yemen and said on Saturday forces who had tried to rescue them showed "great courage".

British-born US photojournalist Luke Somers, 33, and South African teacher Pierre Korkie were being held by Al-Qaeda (AQAP) militants in Yemen.

They were killed alongside 10 of their captors during a rescue attempt by US and Yemeni forces, senior officials said on Saturday.

"My deepest condolences are with the families of both hostages at this time. We utterly condemn AQAP for the brutal murder of these two men," Hammond said in a statement.

"Luke had close links with the UK and his family have spoken about Luke's life and his work, and that is how he should be remembered."

He added: "I salute the forces involved, who showed great courage in carrying out this mission."

Somers was captured in September 2013, outside a supermarket in the Yemeni capital.

He had worked as a freelance photographer and had contributed pictures to the BBC in Britain.