SANAA/ADEN - A woman, a 10-year-old boy and a local al-Qaida leader were among at least 11 people killed alongside two Western hostages when US-led forces battled militants in a failed rescue mission in Yemen, residents said on Sunday.
US special forces raided the village of Dafaar in Shabwa province, a militant stronghold in southern Yemen, shortly after midnight on Saturday, killing several members of al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP).
American journalist Luke Somers, 33, and South African teacher Pierre Korkie, 56, were shot and killed by their captors during the raid intended to secure the hostages' freedom, U.S. officials said.
AQAP, formed in 2006 by the merger of the Yemeni and Saudi branches of the network, has for years been seen by Washington as one of the movement's most dangerous branches.
Western governments fear an advance by Shi'ite Muslim Houthi fighters with links to Iran has bolstered support among Yemeni Sunnis for AQAP, which has established itself in parts of south and east Yemen, including Shabwa where the raid took place.
However, since Islamic State in Syria and Iraq began distributing films of its militants executing Western hostages, the focus on AQAP, which has traditionally used hostage-taking as a way to raise funds, had diminished until now.
At least one Briton and a Turkish man are still held by the group.