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US official says US did not know about talks on freeing South African who died in Yemen raid

FILE - In this Monday, Feb. 11, 2013 file photo, Luke Somers, 33, an American photojournalist who was kidnapped over a year ago by al-Qaida, poses for a picture during a parade marking the second anniversary of the revolution in Sanaa, Yemen. Somers has been killed in a failed rescue attempt, his sister said Saturday, Dec. 6, 2014. Lucy Somers told The Associated Press that she and her father learned of her 33-year-old brother Luke Somers' death from FBI agents at 0500 GMT (12 a.m. EST) Saturday. (AP Photo/Hani Mohammed, File)

FILE - In this Monday, Feb. 11, 2013 file photo, Luke Somers, 33, an American photojournalist who was kidnapped over a year ago by al-Qaida, poses for a picture during a parade marking the second anniversary of the revolution in Sanaa, Yemen. Somers has been killed in a failed rescue attempt, his sister said Saturday, Dec. 6, 2014. Lucy Somers told The Associated Press that she and her father learned of her 33-year-old brother Luke Somers' death from FBI agents at 0500 GMT (12 a.m. EST) Saturday. (AP Photo/Hani Mohammed, File)  (The Associated Press)

A top U.S. diplomat says the United States did not know about talks on the reportedly imminent release of a South African hostage who died in a U.S. raid on al-Qaida militants in Yemen.

Patrick Gaspard, the American ambassador in South Africa, said Monday that American officials were "unaware of ongoing negotiations that had any resolution" between the militants and Gift of the Givers, a South African humanitarian relief group that had been acting on behalf of the family of South African hostage Pierre Korkie.

Korkie and American hostage Luke Somers were killed Saturday during a U.S.-led rescue attempt.