US and Yemeni forces have launched a new military operation to rescue American hostage Luke Somers held by al-Qaeda militants, reports say.
Details of the bid to free UK-born journalist Luke Somers are unclear.
It comes as nine alleged al-Qaeda militants were reported to have died in a drone strike believed to have been carried out by the US in Yemen’s southern Shabwa province.
Yemen’s defense ministry confirmed a “major operation” was taking place in the region.
Luke Somers, who was abducted in Yemen in 2013, has appeared in a video appealing for help.
There are conflicting reports about the outcome of the operation to free him on December 6.
Luke Somers, 33, worked as a journalist and photographer for local news organizations. His material appeared on international news outlets.
The video of Luke Somers released this week also shows a member of al-Qaeda in the Arab Peninsula (AQAP) threatening to kill him unless unspecified demands are met.
AQAP is regarded by the US as one of the deadliest offshoots of al-Qaeda.
The group is based in eastern Yemen and has built up support amid the unrest which has beset the impoverished country since the overthrow of President Ali Abdullah Saleh in 2011.