Luke Somers video
A man, who identified himself as Luke Somers, speaks in this still image taken from video purportedly published by al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. Reuters

Update as of 06:38 a.m. EST: In a statement issued Saturday, President Obama condemned the "barbaric murder" of Luke Somers and the non-U.S. hostage killed during a raid Saturday.

Obama's comments come as a leading Yemeni security official told the Associated Press that al Qaeda militants planned to kill Somers on Saturday.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel also said that U.S. Navy SEALs were involved in the operation that attempted to free Somers, according to CBS News.

Update as of 05:47 a.m. EST: U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said Saturday that U.S. hostage Luke Somers had been "murdered" by terrorists in Yemen, according to the Associated Press.

Hagel also reportedly confirmed that Pierre Korkie, a South African hostage, was killed in the rescue attempt.

Update as of 04:16 a.m. EST: A senior U.S. official has told the New York Times that Luke Somers was killed in rescue attempt launched late Friday.

The official was quoted as saying that Somers was shot by his captors, and was gravely wounded by the time U.S. commandos reached him. Despite being transferred to a U.S. naval ship in the region, the offical said Somers died from his injuries.

The U.S. State Department is expected to issue more details about the raid in the coming hours, according to Al Jazeera.

Original story below

The sister of Luke Somers, the American photojournalist held captive by al-Qaeda militants in Yemen, says that he was killed in a failed rescue attempt, Saturday, according to the Associated Press.

There are conflicting reports however, with the Reuters news agency reporting that Yemen's Defense Ministry said a raid by its forces Saturday freed a U.S. hostage, who was not named.

Lucy Somers, who said that she had heard the news from FBI agents, said: "We ask that all of Luke's family members be allowed to mourn in peace," according to a report from Sky News.

A joint military operation to free Somers, conducted by U.S. and Yemeni forces, was launched Saturday, according to a report from NBC News. The network added that Somers' status was unclear.

The reports come just hours after the Associated Press reported that 9 suspected al-Qaeda fighters were killed in a drone strike in Yemen.

Somers' mother and brother appeared in an video earlier this week, in which they called on his captors to “show mercy,” to him.

A video released earlier this week by Somers' captors, al-Qaeda in the Arab Peninsula, showed a militant threatening to kill Somers unless unspecified demands were met.

There has been no official comment or confirmation of Somers' status.

This is a breaking story, check back for more updates.