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JOHANNESBURG, South Africa -- For Yolande Korkie, this week was supposed to be a celebration, instead she and her children are left mourning.

The body of her husband, Pierre Korkie, was flown to South Africa in the early hours of Tuesday morning. There was a private viewing for his grieving widow and the couple's two teenage children.

Over the weekend, Korkie was told her husband would be home before Christmas. Just hours later, she found out he had been killed during a U.S. special forces raid on an al Qaeda compound in Yemen.

Speaking publicly for the first time since his death, the widow said she had envisioned a very different reunion.

"When we received Pierre's remains -- we had visualized something different -- we had visualized him holding us in his arms and hearing his soft voice," she told reporters in Johannesburg.

Pierre Korkie was held captive by al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) for 558 days. A Muslim charity organization had successfully negotiated the release of his wife in January this year. There were high hopes Korkie himself was also to be freed on Sunday, following agreement on a ransom of $200,000.

But on the eve of his expected release, U.S. Navy SEALs launched a raid to rescue American hostage Luke Somers, who was also being held by the group. Video shown widely on social media sites purports to show the rescue operation during which Korkie and Somers were killed by their captors.

But from Korkie's wife on Tuesday, there was no anger, only forgiveness.

"Today we are here to choose... to choose to forgive those who caused his death," she said. "What will it help to accuse? Will it bring Pierre back? Never, but we choose to let it go."

But there is a deep sadness that her children will never see their father again.

"I deeply mourn for their loss," she said, crying. "They never said goodbye, whereas I had the opportunity to say goodbye. I hope that this will bring closure to them."

Mrs. Korkie said she and 카지노사이트 her children have remembered Pierre by cooking his favorite food and wearing his old college t-shirts. Now they intend to honor his memory by keeping his legacy of doing good in the world alive.
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