US Forces in Yemen: Trump

Mabkhout Ali al Ameri with his 18-month old son Mohammed, shortly after a botched US raid on al Ghayil in January 2017 had killed at least 20 villagers, including Mohammed's mother Fatim Saleh Mohsen. © Iona Craig

Belligerent
US Forces
Country
Yemen
start date
end date
Airwars Grading
Belligerent Assessment
Strike Status
Strike Type

Incident Code

USYEMTr006-C

Incident date

January 29, 2017

Location

الغيل, al Ghayil, Yakla, Bayda, Yemen

Geolocation

14.592945, 45.038975 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Village level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Village

Airwars assessment

At least twenty civilians, including eleven children and six women, were reportedly killed in a US Navy special forces operation in al-Ghayil village, Yakla region of Bayda province – though the reported civilian toll varied considerably.

A force of US Navy SEALs engaged in a firefight with alleged militants in the village at around 1:30am, before sustaining injuries and one death, and then calling in air support to facilitate their withdrawal.  Though the raid was publicly announced as a “site exploitation mission”, intended to recover sensitive information on AQAP militants, later reporting by NBC revealed that the mission had been to “kill-or-capture” AQAP leadership, possibly including AQAP leader Qassim al-Raymi.

Assessments of civilian casualties varied considerably.  While NBC News reported that Nasser al-Awlaki, the grandfather of Nawar al-Awlaki who was killed during the raid, alleged that some initial total fatality counts were as high as 59, local medics and tribal sources reported around 30 deaths including 10 women and children, according to Reuters.

The Bureau of Investigative Journalism worked with a journalist who visited al-Ghayil five days after the raid and spoke with nine survivors, collecting the names of 25 civilians killed as reported by those who lived there.   According to the Bureau, these names were later corroborated in an investigation by Human Rights Watch.

Ten of those civilian names collected by the Bureau were under the age of 18, nine of whom were under the age of 13.  However, of the child casualties reported by the Bureau, Abdallah Ahmed Abad al-Zouba was also listed as an AQAP militant in a statement by the militant group, and is not therefore counted in Airwars’ minimum civilian child casualty figure.  Two further child casualties, not included in the Bureau’s list, were reported in international media.  Osama, the child of AQAP member Arwa al-Baghdadi, was killed during the raid, according to The Intercept and a statement by AQAP.  Multiple reports suggested that a newborn child, born 48 hours later by emergency caesarean section, subsequently died due to injuries sustained by the mother, Arwa al-Baghdadi’s sister-in-law, during the raid.

In its own list of casualties, as reported by Al Araby, AQAP stated that three unnamed children of Abu Abdelileh al-Hadrami were killed in the raid, though no other sources mentioned these children, and it was unclear whether they were the same as others already named by others.  The minimum number of civilian child casualties given by Airwars is therefore eleven, ten of whom are named.  The maximum is given as fifteen, including Abdallah Ahmed Abad al-Zouba and the three unnamed children of Abu Abdelileh al-Hadrami.  The Bureau also reported that five children were injured in the raid.

In the Bureau’s original report it was stated that, of the 25 reported civilian deaths, eight were women, including one who was heavily pregnant, and that two additional women were injured. In the Bureau’s list as published by Al Araby, however, only seven adult female casualties were named. In addition, one of the women listed, Arwa al Baghdadi, was reported to be an AQAP member by multiple sources; some AQAP propaganda channels indicated that she may have been directly involved in combat during the raid, though this was denied by local residents.

Some reports variously suggested that Arwa al-Baghdadi’s unnamed pregnant sister-in-law – the wife of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi – either died of injuries sustained during the raid after giving birth, or survived.  It could not be confirmed whether she was among those casualties named by the Bureau or other sources.  AQAP additionally stated that the “wife of Abi Walid al-Hadrami” had been killed in the raid, but this was not confirmed by any other sources, and it was unclear whether she was among those casualties named by other sources.  Airwars’ minimum number of adult female civilian casualties is therefore presently set at six, all of whom are named, with a maximum of ten, including the eight mentioned by the Bureau and the wives of Al-Hadrami and al-Baghdadi.

Eight of the civilian names collected by the Bureau were adult men, of which five were also claimed by AQAP or other sources to be AQAP militants; Airwars’ minimum number of adult male civilian casualties is therefore set at three, all of whom are named.  Cumulatively, twenty minimum civilian fatalities of the raid are given by Airwars, of which nineteen are named.

On February 1st 2017, CENTCOM reported that civilian non-combatants were likely killed “in the midst of” the firefight, and that this “may include children”.  According to this report, “the known possible civilian casualties appear to have been potentially caught up in aerial gunfire that was called in to assist U.S. forces in contact against a determined enemy that included armed women firing from prepared fighting positions, and U.S. special operations members receiving fire from all sides to include houses and other buildings”.

On February 28th, a Pentagon official told NBC News that the Pentagon did not dispute the numbers reported by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism. However, in March, General Votel told the Senate Armed Services Committee that US forces killed between four and twelve civilians casualties in the raid. A later investigation by NBC included US intelligence sources saying sixteen civilians in total died as a result of the operation, contradicting Votel’s March comments. NBC determined from official documents verified by US intelligence that ten children under 13 had been killed.   A later internal Joint Special Operations Command report, obtained by The Intercept in December 2018, described the raid as resulting in “minimal civilian casualties”.

Numbers of reported combatant casualties also exhibited considerable variance.  One US soldier, Navy SEAL William ‘Ryan’ Owens, was killed by fire from alleged militants, while at least three further US personnel were injured, some during the “hard landing” of an Osprey helicopter during the raid.

US Central Command initially reported that fourteen AQAP militants were killed during the raid, including “two longstanding AQAP operational planners and weapons experts”, Sultan al-Dhahab and Abd-al-Ra’uf al-Dhahab.  Some local sources, as well as an AQAP statement, further suggested that Saif al-Jawqfi, an 80 year-old killed during the raid, had connections to AQAP.  According to “local sources”, reported by Al Jazeera, an AQAP leader, Abu Abu Barzan, was also killed, though other sources did not mention his name, and he did not appear in casualty lists given by either AQAP or the Bureau of Investigative Journalism.  According to AFP, one local Yemeni source initially stated that as many as 41 total “presumed militants” had been killed.  The internal Pentagon report obtained by The Intercept in December 2018 gave an overall number of 35 enemy combatants killed.

Several reports indicated that at least three of those killed during the raid were AQAP members.  Multiple sources suggested that the son of a local tribesman, Mohammed al-Ameri, Arwa al-Baghdadi and her brother Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi were “low-level” AQAP militants; all three were killed during the raid. Arwa and Abu Bakr were being sheltered in Mohammed al-Ameri’s house at the time of the raid, and one source indicated that this house was also used by passing AQAP militants.

Further, some witnesses suggested that additional AQAP militants may have joined the firefight from the surrounding area during the raid.  To reflect these issues, Airwars’ minimum estimate of militants killed in the raid is set at three.  Correspondingly, the maximum number of civilian casualties is set at 56, reflecting the highest alleged death toll of 59, less the three minimum militant casualties recorded by Airwars.  The maximum number of combatant casualties is set at 42, to reflect the highest alleged number of militant casualties, in addition to the single US death.

However, local sources and on-the-ground reporting cast significant doubt upon the more substantial militant casualty figures given by the US military and some other sources.  Both local residents and Yemeni state sources, as well as an investigation by the Associated Press, disputed that Sultan al-Dhahab or Abd-al-Ra’uf al-Dhahab were AQAP militants.  Instead, multiple sources, including Yemeni government army moral guidance director Major General Mohsen Kosroof, claimed that Abd-al-Ra’uf al-Dhahab was instead a leader of US-backed pro-Hadi militia forces, and that he had returned to Yakla to distribute payment to fighters.  Both are listed as civilians in the Bureau of Investigative Journalism’s report on the raid.

In an interview with PBS Frontline, Abdulilah al-Dhahab, brother of Sultan and Abd-al-Ra’uf, said that neither were AQAP militants, and also stated that Abd-al-Ra’uf was a leader in the US-backed anti-Houthi forces.  The Yemeni government confirmed to PBS Frontline that Abd-al-Ra’uf held this position.  Abdulilah al-Dhahab went into hiding in the aftermath of the raid, according to Frontline, and has since been the target of several reported US raids.

In an investigation for The Intercept, journalist Iona Craig suggested that many of the combatants encountered by US forces in the al-Ghayil were likely scared civilians acting in self-defence, rather than AQAP militants, having previously been attacked by Houthi forces. “If you want to hunt al-Qaida, you can find them in the surrounding mountains not in this small village… The Americans’ information was wrong,” said Aziz Mabkhout, the village chief, according to Associated Press.  PBS Frontline later published witness testimony, suggesting that the village had been attacked by Houthis hours before the raid, and that the villagers initially believed US forces to also be Houthis.

In an initial statement, AQAP indicated that the raid had killed “only women and children… with some tribal leaders who have no connections” to the group, while a statement by AQAP leader al-Raymi listed fourteen men as dead, but did not clearly state that they were AQAP members.  Eight of those names given were listed with a nom de guerre, indicating likely membership.  According to Iona Craig of The Intercept, eight names given by AQAP were not included in the list of the dead that villagers provided to her, and were not known to local residents.  They were also not given in the Bureau’s list of casualties.  Family members disputed that the remaining six men were AQAP militants.  These six names included Mohammed al-Ameri, Sultan al-Dhahab, Abd-al-Ra’uf al-Dhahab, Saif al-Jawqfi, and seventeen year-old Abdallah Ahmed Abad al-Zouba, as well as Abdallah Mabkhout al-Ameri.

Similarly, both local residents and commentators disputed the reports by US Central Command that female fighters had been involved in the firefight.  Pentagon spokesperson Jeff Davis stated that “female fighters ran to pre-established positions as though they had trained to be ready” to fight during the raid.  Some AQAP propaganda channels reported that women had been involved in combat during the raid.  However, all of those local residents spoken to by Iona Craig for The Intercept “strongly challenged this accusation, citing a culture that views the prospect of women fighting, as Nesma al Ameri put it, as ‘eib’ — shameful and dishonorable — and pointing out the practical implausibility of women clutching babies while also firing rifles”.  It is unclear what proportion of US-reported enemy casualties, if any, female fighters constituted.

According to both global media and local sources, the raid began in the early hours of the morning of January 29th.  Around thirty US SEALs and Emirati special forces entered the village, accompanied by military dogs. After taking wounded and one fatality – Navy SEAL William ‘Ryan’ Owens, US forces called in air support, including two Marine Corps CV-22 Osprey tilt rotor vertical take-off and landing aircraft, along with AV-8B Harrier jump jets and attack helicopters.  During attempts to evacuate the US-Emirati forces, one Osprey helicopter experienced a “hard landing”, and was then intentionally destroyed by US aircraft.  Multiple sources suggested that the overall firefight lasted for around an hour.

Local sources alleged that US forces began firing on the village and killing indiscriminately, causing civilians to take up arms in self-defence.  One anonymous local resident told Reuters that the “operation began at dawn when a drone bombed the home of Abdulraoof al-Dhahab and then helicopters flew up and unloaded paratroopers at his house and killed everyone inside”, and, subsequently, “the gunmen opened fire at the U.S. soldiers who left the area, and the helicopters bombed the gunmen and a number of homes and led to a large number of casualties”.

According to an investigation by Human Rights Watch, “men in al-Dahab’s house heard people approaching and called out. When they got no response, they began shooting”. Another witness said that “the men in [al-Dahab’s] house fired warning shots into the air and that the forces outside then opened fire on the home”.  Some sources reported that this advance was accompanied, or shortly preceded, by aerial strikes against the village. According to Alwaght, these targeted “a number of locations where al-Qaeda elements are believed to be entrenched in the area, including a school and an al-Qaeda prison”.  Others told Human Rights watch that “[Mohammed] al-Ameri’s house was destroyed by an aerial bomb soon after fighting began, killing at least nine people, including him, four women, and four children”.

The Bureau of Investigative Journalism reported that eleven-year-old Ahmed al-Dhahab was one of the first killed in the raid.  His father, Abdelilah Ahmed al-Dhahab, told the Bureau that “when my son Ahmed saw them, he couldn’t tell that they were soldiers because it was dark… He asked them ‘Who are you?’ but the men shot him. He was the first killed. No one thought that marines would descend on our homes to kill us, kill our children and kill our women”.  Abdelilah al-Dhahab later told PBS Frontline that his son was shot through the heart by US forces when he saw them, prompting the family to return fire.

Abdullah al-Dhahab, whose son, Nasser, was killed in the raid told the Bureau “that his son had gone to visit family members in the Yakla area during the midterm school holiday… ‘Nasser was very smart, and he was special to me. He was my friend, despite being young, and I trusted his decisions. … The American raid killed my son, a student in the eighth grade. … There needs to be accountability for those who carried out this crime before American courts'”.

According to witness Sadiq al Jawfi, both Abd-al-Ra’uf al-Dhahab and Sultan al-Dhahab were shot as they exited their home, as well as 80-year-old Saif al Jawfi.  Witnesses, including Abdelilah al-Dhahab, told the Bureau that US forces fired indiscriminately on the home of 65-year-old Abdallah Mabkhout al-Ameri, attacking everyone who left their home.  Abdallah was a survivor of a previous US drone strike in the area, in 2013, which had hit his wedding.  Saleh Mohsen al-Ameri said that US forces “attacked the mosque, school, medical unit and a prison in the area…  Anybody leaving the house was hit and killed… people in here have nothing but Kalashnikovs” to defend themselves.  According to The Intercept, the firefight escalated as others from the area came to support the al-Ghayil villagers.  Some sources claimed that AQAP militants from the area joined the battle, but others mentioned only villagers.

Further reported civilian casualties came as the result of US close air support.  Aziz al-Ameri reported that “[attack helicopters] were shooting at anything moving, anything that moved they shot, human or animal, even donkeys”.  Several reports suggested that multiple houses and buildings were destroyed by air support.  Speaking with Iona Craig of The Intercept, Nesma al Ameri, “an elderly village matriarch who lost four family members in the raid, described how the attack helicopters began firing down on anything that moved”.  Various sources alleged that 30-year-old Fatim Saleh Mohsen al-Ameri was shot in the back of the head and killed while fleeing fire with her 18-month-old son and her other children.  Her son, Mohammed, survived, but was injured.   “We pulled him out from his mother’s lap. He was covered in her blood,” said 11-year-old Basil Ahmed Abad al­ Zouba.  Fahad Ali al-Ameri said that his three-month-old daughter was killed in her crib when a missile hit his home.  The Intercept reported that three children of Mohammed al-Ameri were killed when an airstrike hit his home.

Nawar al-Awlaki, an eight year-old girl visiting her uncle in the village, was reportedly killed while hiding in a house, after fire from a gunship hit her in her neck.  According to her uncle, Abdelilah al-Dahab, she bled to death over the course of two hours. Her grandfather, Nasser al-Awlaki, who was not present at the time of the raid, told NBC News that “when the attack came, they were sitting in the house, and a bullet struck her in her neck at 2:30 past midnight. Other children in the same house were killed.”  According to Nasser, US forces “entered another house and killed everybody in it, including all the women. They burned the house”.  Nawar al-Awlaki’s father, the American preacher Anwar al-Awlaki, was killed by a US drone strike in 2011.  Her sixteen-year-old American-born brother was also killed by a 2011 US drone strike.

Reporting by Human Rights Watch further suggested that those injured during the raid struggled to get medical care.  “Dr. Ameen Mabrook, director of the “26th September” hospital in al-Joubah district in Marib, a five-hour drive from the Yakla area and the nearest hospital that provides neonatal care, said that the hospital received three people wounded in the raid – a young man shot in the leg, a pregnant woman, and a small girl”.  The pregnant woman, the sister-in-law of Arwa al-Baghdadi, had been shot in the stomach, and gave birth to a child who later died on January 31st due to these injuries.

This picture of events strongly contradicts reports from US officials and US Central Command.  In a CENTCOM press release, it was stated that the US force came under attack from a “determined enemy that included armed women firing from prepared fighting positions, and U.S. special operations members receiving fire from all sides to include houses and other buildings”.  Speaking with Reuters, three US officials said that “the attacking SEAL team found itself dropping onto a reinforced al Qaeda base defended by landmines, snipers, and a larger than expected contingent of heavily armed Islamist extremists”.  “Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula has a horrifying history of hiding women and children within militant operating areas and terrorist camps, and continuously shows a callous disregard for innocent lives”, said CENTCOM spokesperson Col. John J. Thomas.

In its May 2018 annual civilian casualty report, the US Department of Defense stated that “there were credible reports of civilian casualties caused by U.S. military actions in Yemen against AQAP and ISIS during 2017”, but did not specify which specific actions these credible reports referred to.  Overall, the Department of Defense assessed that there were credible reports of “approximately 499 civilians killed and approximately 169 civilians injured during 2017”, as a result of US military actions in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, and Yemen.

The incident occured at approximately 1:30 am local time.

The victims were named as:

Family members (16)

Family members (4)

Family members (2)

Family members (3)

Family members (4)

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Counter-Terrorism Action (Ground)
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    20 – 56
  • (11–15 children6–10 women3–8 men)
  • Civilians reported injured
    7
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Confirmed
    A specific belligerent has accepted responsibility for civilian harm.
  • Known attacker
    United States Armed Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP)
  • Belligerents reported killed
    4–42
  • Belligerents reported injured
    3–6

Sources (90) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (46) [ collapse]

  • The Pentagon said that an Osprey helicopter had experienced a "hard landing" during the raid, allegedly shown here (Al Jazeera, January 29th 2017)
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    Eight-year-old Nawar al-Awlaki was reportedly fatally wounded after US forces fired upon the house she was hiding in during the raid. Photos of her body, shown here, circulated online after the raid. (Alshahed News, January 29th 2017)
  • Interior view of a building allegedly destroyed during the raid (Alahd, January 29th 2017)
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    An alleged child casualty of the January 29th 2017 raid (@amerAlhamiqaniu, January 29th 2017)
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    Abd al-Raoud al-Dahab was reportedly killed during the January 29th 2017 raid. The US claimed that he was an AQAP militant, but other sources disputed this, instead suggesting that he was pro-Hadi government fighter (@shahd201062, January 29th 2017)
  • Abd al-Raoud al-Dahab was reportedly killed during the January 29th 2017 raid. The US claimed that he was an AQAP militant, but other sources disputed this, instead suggesting that he was pro-Hadi government fighter (@shahd201062, January 29th 2017)
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    A compilation of alleged child victims of the raid (@ahmadnaser4444, January 29th 2017)
  • A car allegedly destroyed during the January 29th 2017 raid (@almisbarr, January 29th 2017)
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    An alleged child casualty of the January 29th 2017 raid (@m_alsallaly, January 29th 2017)
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    An alleged child casualty of the January 29th 2017 raid (@mazenyemen, January 29th 2017)
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    An alleged child casualty of the January 29th 2017 raid (@mazenyemen, January 29th 2017)
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    An alleged child casualty of the January 29th 2017 raid (@abu_japheth, January 29th 2017)
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    An alleged child casualty of the January 29th 2017 raid (@abu_japheth, January 29th 2017)
  • Alleged remnants of US medical supplies from the site of the raid (Elyamnelaraby, January 29th 2017)
  • Alleged remnants of US medical supplies from the site of the raid (Elyamnelaraby, January 29th 2017)
  • Abd al-Raoud al-Dahab was reportedly killed during the January 29th 2017 raid. The US claimed that he was an AQAP militant, but other sources disputed this, instead suggesting that he was pro-Hadi government fighter (Tehama Press, January 29th 2017)
  • "William Owens holds a photo of his son, Navy SEAL William "Ryan" Owens, in Lauderdale-by-the-Sea, Florida." (NBC, October 1st 2017) William "Ryan" Owens was killed during the raid.
  • "William Owens stands with his son, William "Ryan" Owens, in front of a helicopter in a family photo." (NBC, February 27th 2017) US Navy SEAL William "Ryan" Owens was killed during the raid.
  • Eight-year-old Nawar al-Awlaki was reportedly fatally wounded after US forces fired upon the house she was hiding in during the raid. (@nationalyemen, February 3rd 2017)
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    A newborn child allegedly died, 48 hours after the raid, due to wounds sustained by the mother during the raid. Some sources alleged that the mother was the nine-months pregnant sister-in-law of Arwa al-Baghdadi, and had been shot in the stomach. (@karot2525, January 31st 2017)
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    Pro-AQAP media channels used images from the raid in propaganda efforts (@ludowizze, January 30th 2017)
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    An alleged casualty of the January 29th 2017 raid (@doamuslims, January 29th 2017)
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    An alleged child casualty of the January 29th 2017 raid (@doamuslims, January 29th 2017)
  • The Pentagon said that an Osprey helicopter had experienced a "hard landing" during the raid, allegedly shown here (@defence_blog, January 29th 2017)
  • The Pentagon said that an Osprey helicopter, of the type shown here, had experienced a "hard landing" during the raid (@defence_blog, January 29th 2017)
  • "Ryan Owens, left, with his father Bill Owens." (NBC, October 1st 2017)
  • "CPO Ryan Owens, a Navy SEAL who died in a raid on al Qaeda in Yemen in January 2017" (NBC, October 1st 2017)
  • A map of Yemen, produced by NBC News, showing the location of Yakla, where the January 29th raid took place (NBC, October 1st 2017)
  • The interior of a building damaged during the January 29th 2017 raid (NBC, October 1st 2017)
  • A building damaged during the January 29th 2017 raid (NBC, October 1st 2017)
  • "Relatives of those who died, including the seven children of Fatim Saleh Mohsen al-Ameri" (Bureau of Investigative Journalism, Febuary 9th 2017)
  • Abdallah Mabkhout al-Ameri was killed during the raid. He had survived a previous US strike on his wedding in 2013. (Bureau of Investigative Journalism, February 9th 2017)
  • Eight-year-old Nawar al-Awlaki was reportedly fatally wounded after US forces fired upon the house she was hiding in during the raid. (Bureau of Investigative Journalism, February 9th 2017)
  • Interior view of a building allegedly destroyed during the raid (Alahd, January 29th)
  • A map of al-Ghayil, published by The Intercept (March 9th 2017), detailing the locations of the raid
  • A girl in the remains of a building, reportedly destroyed during the January 29th 2017 raid (The Intercept, March 9th 2017)
  • Children in the ruins of a house, destroyed during the January 29th 2017 raid (The Intercept, March 9th 2017)
  • The village of al-Ghayil, in which the raid took place (The Intercept, March 9th 2017)
  • "Mabkhout Ali al Ameri stands with his 18-month-old son, Mohammed, in the village of al Ghayil in Yemen’s al Bayda province. Mabkhout’s wife, Fatim Saleh Mohsen, was shot in the back of the head by helicopter gunship fire as she fled with Mohammed in her arms during a U.S. raid on January 29, 2017. The vehicle in the background was also destroyed during the assault." (The Intercept, March 9th 2017)
  • Buildings damaged during the raid (Reprieve, February 2nd 2017)
  • The interior of a building damaged during the raid (@doamuslims, January 29th 2017)
  • Eight-year-old Nawar al-Awlaki was reportedly fatally wounded after US forces fired upon the house she was hiding in during the raid. (Yemenpress, January 29th 2017)
  • Eight-year-old Nawar al-Awlaki was reportedly fatally wounded by US fire during the raid (CNN, January 31st 2017)
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    Video footage of a child allegedly killed during the raid
  • Alleged video footage of al-Ghayil village, showing damage caused in the raid.
  • PBS Frontline visited the site of the Yakla raid, recording interviews with eyewitnesses of the raid

Geolocation notes (1) [ collapse]

Reports of the incident mention a firefight and several strikes in the village of Al Ghayil (الغيل‎), for which the coordinates are: 14.592945, 45.038975. Due to limited satellite imagery and information available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further.

  • Tagged satellite imagery of the event from The Intercept.

    Imagery:
    The Intercept, 2017

United States Armed Forces Assessment:

  • Known belligerent
    United States Armed Forces
  • United States Armed Forces position on incident
    Credible / Substantiated
    The investigation assessed that although all feasible precautions were taken and the decision to strike complied with the law of armed conflict, unintended civilian casualties regrettably occurred.
  • Given reason for civilian harm
    Killed by strike blast, Unseen at time of engagement, Inside target building, Killed in adjacent structure
    Airwars’ assessment of belligerent’s civilian casualty statement
  • Initial Airwars grading
    Confirmed
  • Civilian deaths conceded
    4–12
  • Civilian injuries conceded
    None

Civilian casualty statements

United States Armed Forces
  • Mar 9, 2017
  • Feb 1, 2017
  • A team designated by the operational task force commander has concluded regrettably that civilian non-combatants were likely killed in the midst of a firefight during a raid in Yemen Jan. 29. Casualties may include children. The ongoing credibility assessment seeks to determine if there were any still-undetected civilian casualties in the ferocious firefight that also claimed the life of Navy Seal Team Chief Special Warfare Operator William “Ryan” Owens and wounded three other U.S. service members. The known possible civilian casualties appear to have been potentially caught up in aerial gunfire that was called in to assist U.S. forces in contact against a determined enemy that included armed women firing from prepared fighting positions, and U.S. special operations members receiving fire from all sides to include houses and other buildings. This complex situation included small arms fire, hand grenades and close air support fire. Analysts are carefully assessing whether additional non-combatant civilians that were not visible to the assault force at the time were mixed in with combatants. The raid resulted in the seizure of materials and information that is yielding valuable intelligence to help partner nations deter and prevent future terror attacks in Yemen and across the world. “Al-Qa’ida in the Arabian Peninsula has a horrifying history of hiding women and children within militant operating areas and terrorist camps, and continuously shows a callous disregard for innocent lives,” said Col. John J. Thomas, U.S. Central Command spokesman. “That’s what makes cases like these so especially tragic.”

  • Senator Kaine: If I might, one last question with respect to Yemen. We have had hearings in this committee about the ground operation in Yemen, which to my knowledge was the first ground operation by DOD forces in Yemen. There were a number of questions raised by that. I do not want to go into the classified briefing we had, but questions about was the mission compromised in some way in the advance. What intel was gained? There was some after the-fact justification of the mission using video that actually had been taken in another mission. Is the DOD conducting an ongoing investigation of that mission to determine all lessons learned, what worked, what did not, and what we can do better? General Votel: Senator, thank you, and let me answer this a little more comprehensively. First and foremost, I am responsible for this mission. I am the CENTCOM Commander and I am responsible for what is done in my region and what is not done in my region. So I accept the responsibility for this. We lost a lot on this operation. We lost a valued operator. We had people wounded. We caused civilian casualties. We lost an expensive aircraft. We did gain some valuable information that will be helpful for us. Our intention here was to improve our knowledge against this threat, a threat that poses a direct threat to us here in the homeland. And that was what we were focused on. There have been a number of investigations that have been initiated. Most of these are regulatory or statutory in terms of things that we normally do. When we lose an aircraft, there is both a safety investigation to ensure that we disseminate lessons learned for the broader fleet, and there is also a collateral investigation that tries to determine the specific reason why that happened and establishes accountability over that. We have done an investigation into the civilian casualties. That has been completed. The helicopter investigations are ongoing. The civilian casualty aspect has been completed, and we have made a determination based on our best information available that we did cause casualties, somewhere between 4 and 12 casualties that we accept -- I accept responsibility for. We have done a line of duty investigation, again a statutory investigation, on the death of Senior Chief Owens that determined that he was in the line of investigation. The key mechanism that I have, Senator, is the after action review, and this is something we do with every operation we do. And the intention here is to review the operation in great detail to understand exactly what happened. And it is done with the chain of command in place. And we have done that and I have presided over that. Based on my experience, nearly 37 years of service, I have certainly appointed a lot of investigations and I have been through a lot of these after-action reviews. When I go through these things, there are some specific things that I am looking for. I am looking for information gaps where we cannot explain what happened in a particular situation or we have conflicting information between members of the organization. I am looking for indicators of incompetence or poor decision-making or bad judgment throughout all of this. So what I can tell you is that we did an exhaustive after-action review on this. I presided over that. It went down to a level that included people who were on the specific objective. As a result of that, I was satisfied that none of those indicators that I identified to you were present. I think we had a good understanding of exactly what happened on this objective, and we have been able to pull lessons learned out of that that we will apply in future operations. And as a result, I made the determination that there was no need for an additional investigation into this particular operation. Senator Kaine: So the only investigation that continues is the investigation -- or the loss of the helicopters is still not complete. General Votel: That is correct, Senator. Senator Kaine: Thank you. Thank you, Mr. Chair. Chairman McCain: Just to follow up, General, there has been a lot of conversation about this particular mission and the point that some of us are trying to make that the heroism and sacrifice of those who served has nothing to do with the mission itself. In other words, we honor their sacrifice no matter what happened in the mission. And when you have women and children killed, as you pointed out, the loss of a $70 million aircraft, you did not capture anyone as was part of the mission, that mission is not a success. But that happens in war. There is a thing called the fog of war. They did the best they could under very difficult circumstances. And I hope in the process of your investigation, when heavy fire was encountered why the decision was made to continue the mission -- I still do not think this committee has an answer to that question. But it does not question the loyalty and sacrifice and bravery when we question the mission. And unless we tell the American people the truth, the absolute truth, then we are going to revisit another war a long time ago where we did tell the American people the truth and we paid a very heavy price for it. There are 55,000 names engraved in black granite not far from here, and the American people were not told the truth about whether we were succeeding or failing in that war. And then because of that, it all collapsed. So I hope that we will not forget that lesson, and in no way does it detract from the heroism and professionalism and sacrifice of the brave men and women who serve under your command.

Original strike reports

United States Armed Forces

An estimated 14 al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula terrorists were killed yesterday during a raid by U.S. forces in Yemen, according to a U.S. Central Command news release issued today.
One U.S. service member died of wounds suffered in the raid, and three others were wounded, the release said.
The names of the deceased and wounded service members are being withheld pending notification of next-of-kin, the release said.
“In a successful raid against al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula headquarters, brave U.S. forces were instrumental in killing an estimated 14 AQAP members and capturing important intelligence that will assist the U.S. in preventing terrorism against its citizens and people around the world,” President Donald J. Trump said in a statement issued today.
Trump added, “Americans are saddened this morning with news that a life of a heroic service member has been taken in our fight against the evil of radical Islamic terrorism. The sacrifices made by the men and women of our armed forces, and the families they leave behind, are the backbone of the liberty we hold so dear as Americans, united in our pursuit of a safer nation and a freer world. My deepest thoughts and humblest prayers are with the family of this fallen service member. I also pray for a quick and complete recovery for the brave service members who sustained injuries.”
“We are deeply saddened by the loss of one of our elite service members,” Army Gen. Joseph L. Votel, Centcom’s commander, said in the Centcom release. “The sacrifices are very profound in our fight against terrorists who threaten innocent peoples across the globe.”
A U.S. military aircraft assisting in the operation experienced a hard landing at a nearby location, resulting in an additional U.S. injury, according to the Centcom release. That aircraft was unable to fly after the landing. The aircraft was then intentionally destroyed in place.
The raid is one in a series of aggressive moves against terrorist planners in Yemen and worldwide, according to the Centcom release. Similar operations have produced intelligence on al-Qaida logistics, recruiting and financing efforts.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Counter-Terrorism Action (Ground)
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    20 – 56
  • (11–15 children6–10 women3–8 men)
  • Civilians reported injured
    7
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Confirmed
    A specific belligerent has accepted responsibility for civilian harm.
  • Known attacker
    United States Armed Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP)
  • Belligerents reported killed
    4–42
  • Belligerents reported injured
    3–6

Sources (90) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USYEMTr168-C

Incident date

May 25, 2018

Location

وادي الخورة, Wadi Khora, Shabwa, Yemen

Geolocation

14.61063, 46.21792 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Neighbourhood/area level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Neighbourhood/area

Airwars assessment

A civilian, who some sources reported to be a 17-year old child, was reportedly killed by a US drone strike in Wadi Khora area in Shabwa, before sunset on May 25th 2018. In a later press release, US Central Command stated that a strike had been conducted on that day, citing three possible provinces. Since there were no other known reports in Yemen of a US strike on this date, this incident is treated as declared.

A single source, @aynalarab1, claimed that two al Qaeda militants had died in the attack.

Local language sources including Wata News, Yemeni News, and The Yemen, reported that Mahdar Hussein al-Hag was killed while driving his motorcycle at the top of the Khora valley. Mahdar’s father told Associated Press that he was a 17-year old high school student, on the way home from buying vegetables. “He might have been mistaken for al-Qaida youth who are active in this area,” his father said. The local-language news outlets mentioned above instead reported that Mahdar was 19 years-old.

This was the second reported US strike in Khora during May; the first (USYEMTr166-C) reportedly killed at least two men, allegedly AQAP militants, while they drove through the area.

CENTCOM publicly reported the following in late August 2018: “U.S. Central Command has conducted six counterterrorism air strikes targeting al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula terrorist network in Yemen in three separate governorates since May 16, bringing the total number of air strikes to 34. These include air strikes May 25, two airstrikes June 23 and 30, two airstrikes July 22 and 24, and one Aug. 14. These air strikes took place in Shabwah, Hadramawt and Al-Bayda governorates.”

The strike was not however included in a CENTCOM release of US actions to the Long War Journal in summer 2018.

In its annual civilian casualty report to Congress issued in April 2019, the US Department of Defense stated that it had assessed “no credible reports of civilian casualties resulting from US military actions in Yemen during 2018″.

Responding to Airwars’ publication of its Yemen dataset and accompanying report in October 2020, CENTCOM dismissed all but two civilian harm claims under President Trump, asserting that “USCENTCOM conducted a thorough review of the information AirWars provided regarding allegations of potential civilian harm caused by USCENTCOM strikes in Yemen from 2017-2020… The bulk of the information asserted by AirWars, however, did not correspond with dates and locations of U.S. military strikes or raids in Yemen.   Other AirWars allegations either did not allege civilian harm or were not assessed as credible upon our review.”

The incident occured around dusk.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    1
  • (1 child1 man)
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Fair
    Reported by two or more credible sources, with likely or confirmed near actions by a belligerent.
  • Known attacker
    United States Armed Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP)
  • Belligerents reported killed
    1–2

Sources (14) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (3) [ collapse]

  • Mahdar Hussein al-Hag's father said that he was a seventeen-year-old student, targeted while returning from buying vegetables (AP, November 14th 2018)

Geolocation notes (1) [ collapse]

Reports of the incident mention a vehicle being struck in the Wadi Khora (وادي الخورة) area within the Merkhat (مرخة) districts of Shabwa (شبوة) governorate. It is unclear whether this refers to an area or a settlement, however we have located the Wadi within the district with undefined boundaries. Due to limited satellite imagery and information available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further. The generic coordinates for Wadi Khora are: 14.61063, 46.21792.

  • Reports of the incident mention a vehicle being struck in the Wadi Khora (وادي الخورة) area within the Merkhat (مرخة) districts of Shabwa (شبوة) governorate. It is unclear whether this refers to an area or a settlement, however we have located the Wadi within the district with undefined boundaries.

    Imagery:
    Google Earth

United States Armed Forces Assessment:

  • Known belligerent
    United States Armed Forces
  • United States Armed Forces position on incident
    Non credible / Unsubstantiated
    Insufficient information to assess that, more likely than not, a Coalition strike resulted in civilian casualties.
  • Reason for non-credible assessment
    No reason given
  • Civilian deaths conceded
    None
  • Civilian injuries conceded
    None

Civilian casualty statements

United States Armed Forces
  • Nov 5, 2020
  • Apr 29, 2019
  • C. U.S. military action in Yemen against al-Qa’ida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and ISIS During 2018, U.S. forces deployed to Yemen continued to work towards disrupting and degrading the terrorist threat posed by AQAP and ISIS. U.S. forces conducted 36 airstrikes against AQAP and ISIS operatives and facilities in Yemen and supported United Arab Emirates and Yemen-led efforts to clear AQAP from Shabwah Governorate. DoD has no credible reports of civilian casualties resulting from U.S. military actions in Yemen during 2018.

  • Via email to Airwars: U.S. Central Command (USCENTCOM) continues to focus on ways to minimize civilian casualties during its military operations. We assess or review all reports of civilian casualties because such assessments or reviews help us identify ways to improve our operations and counter misinformation and propaganda. We routinely share the results of every one of our assessments in Department of Defense (DoD) reports to Congress, including annual reports, many of which are publicly available. We also share the results of our assessments or reviews with the public via the USCENTCOM website and our statements to the media. Individuals wishing to understand U.S. military operations in Yemen more fully should consult these official sources of information. USCENTCOM conducted a thorough review of the information AirWars provided regarding allegations of potential civilian harm caused by USCENTCOM strikes in Yemen from 2017-2020. Of the information AirWars provided, one strike on September 14, 2017, was assessed to have caused injuries to two civilians. Also, as previously released by USCENTCOM to the public in February 2017, USCENTCOM acknowledged there may have been civilian casualties during a raid on January 29, 2017. The bulk of the information asserted by AirWars, however, did not correspond with dates and locations of U.S. military strikes or raids in Yemen. Other AirWars allegations either did not allege civilian harm or were not assessed as credible upon our review. Consistent with our mission, our authorities, and our obligations under the law of war, USCENTCOM will continue to conduct military actions in Yemen when required to protect the Nation and our allies and partners from al Qa’ida and ISIS terror cells that are committed to inflicting terror. In every strike and raid, we take careful measures to minimize civilian harm and take responsibility for our actions. When our military operations result in reports of civilian harm, we will continue to assess the credibility of such reports to help us identify ways to improve our operations and respond as appropriate.

Original strike reports

United States Armed Forces

U.S. Central Command has conducted six counterterrorism air strikes targeting al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula terrorist network in Yemen in three separate governorates since May 16, bringing the total number of air strikes to 34.

These include air strikes May 25, two airstrikes June 23 and 30, two airstrikes July 22 and 24, and one Aug. 14. These air strikes took place in Shabwah, Hadramawt and Al-Bayda governorates.

A recent United Nations report assessed AQAP leaders recognize Yemen as a hub for external operations.

“AQAP has taken advantage of the conflicts in Yemen, to plot, direct and encourage terror attacks abroad,” said Lt. Col. Earl Brown, a USCENTCOM spokesman. “We will not relent on our pursuit of AQAP terrorists as they remain a significant threat to regional security and stability, and the safety of Americans at home and abroad.”

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    1
  • (1 child1 man)
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Fair
    Reported by two or more credible sources, with likely or confirmed near actions by a belligerent.
  • Known attacker
    United States Armed Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP)
  • Belligerents reported killed
    1–2

Sources (14) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USYEMTr095-C

Incident date

August 3, 2017

Location

الروضة, Al Rawda, Marib, Yemen

Geolocation

15.448647, 45.345697 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Neighbourhood/area level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Neighbourhood/area

Airwars assessment

A reported US drone strike targeted a minibus in Al Rawda neighbourhood, in the Wadi Ubaida area of Marib governorate, on the afternoon of August 3rd 2017. Several sources suggested that the strike targeted AQAP militants in the bus, killing three, though others indicated that as many as two civilians were killed and four injured, reportedly including two children.

An on-the-ground reporter indicated to Reprieve that a drone strike had hit a bus filled with people, killing two children and a third badly-burned person who could not be identified.  Reprieve shared their findings on this strike with Airwars. CENTCOM confirmed to Reprieve that it did conduct a strike in Marib on August 3rd; since there were no other known reported strikes on that day, this event is treated as declared.

According to an Al-Masdar Online correspondent at the scene, the strike targeted the bus while it was parked outside a house, killing the driver and injuring two of his children (both of whom were inside the house at the time), with shrapnel.  Reported photos of the scene also indicated that the vehicle was destroyed while parked outside a house.

Al-Masdar also reported that no information was available about the dead man, making it unclear whether he was a civilian or belligerent.

Al Araby reported that “at least one” suspected AQAP militant was killed in the strike, possibly referring to the driver of the bus. Others suggested that three alleged AQAP militants were killed in the strike.

One source, Belqees, suggested that two civilians were killed and four injured by the “remnants of a ballistic missile” intercepted over Marib city, rather than a drone strike, according to “witnesses”. However, images of the destroyed vehicle indicated that it had been directly targeted.

To reflect these competing claims, Airwars has assessed that a minimum of two civilians were injured in the blast, reflecting the reports of injured children, with a maximum of four. A minimum of one reported civilian death has been set, to reflect the possibility that the driver was a civilian, with a maximum of three, including two children.  A minimum of one militant death has been set, with a maximum of three.

In its May 2018 annual civilian casualty report, the US Department of Defense stated that “there were credible reports of civilian casualties caused by U.S. military actions in Yemen against AQAP and ISIS during 2017”, but did not specify which specific actions these reports referred to. Overall, the Department of Defense assessed that there were credible reports of “approximately 499 civilians killed and approximately 169 civilians injured during 2017”, as a result of US military actions in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, and Yemen.

Responding to Airwars’ publication of its Yemen dataset and accompanying report in October 2020, CENTCOM dismissed all but two civilian harm claims under President Trump, asserting that “USCENTCOM conducted a thorough review of the information AirWars provided regarding allegations of potential civilian harm caused by USCENTCOM strikes in Yemen from 2017-2020… The bulk of the information asserted by AirWars, however, did not correspond with dates and locations of U.S. military strikes or raids in Yemen.   Other AirWars allegations either did not allege civilian harm or were not assessed as credible upon our review.”

The incident occured in the afternoon.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    1 – 3
  • (2 children1 man)
  • Civilians reported injured
    2–4
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Fair
    Reported by two or more credible sources, with likely or confirmed near actions by a belligerent.
  • Suspected attacker
    United States Armed Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP)
  • Belligerents reported killed
    1–3

Sources (30) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (5) [ collapse]

  • A US drone strike in Wadi Ubaida, Marib, targeted a bus, reportedly killing the driver (@demolinari, August 3rd 2017)
  • A US drone strike in Wadi Ubaida, Marib, reportedly targeted a bus, allegedly killing at least one unidentified person and injuring at least two children (@demolinari, August 3rd 2017)
  • Two children inside the house were reportedly injured by shrapnel from the blast (@demolinari, August 3rd 2017)
  • A US drone strike in Wadi Ubaida, Marib, reportedly targeted a bus, allegedly killing at least one unidentified person and injuring at least two children (Yemen Press, August 4th 2017)

Geolocation notes (1) [ collapse]

Reports of the incident mention a vehicle being struck in the Al Rawda (الروضة) neighbourhood, east of the city of Marib (مأرب). Due to limited satellite imagery and information available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further. The generic coordinates for Al Rawda neighbourhood are: 15.448647, 45.345697.

  • Reports of the incident mention a vehicle being struck in the Al Rawda (الروضة) neighbourhood, east of the city of Marib (مأرب).

    Imagery:
    Google Earth

United States Armed Forces Assessment:

  • Suspected belligerent
    United States Armed Forces
  • United States Armed Forces position on incident
    Non credible / Unsubstantiated
    Insufficient information to assess that, more likely than not, a Coalition strike resulted in civilian casualties.
  • Civilian deaths conceded
    None
  • Civilian injuries conceded
    None

Civilian casualty statements

United States Armed Forces
  • Nov 5, 2020
  • Via email: U.S. Central Command (USCENTCOM) continues to focus on ways to minimize civilian casualties during its military operations. We assess or review all reports of civilian casualties because such assessments or reviews help us identify ways to improve our operations and counter misinformation and propaganda. We routinely share the results of every one of our assessments in Department of Defense (DoD) reports to Congress, including annual reports, many of which are publicly available. We also share the results of our assessments or reviews with the public via the USCENTCOM website and our statements to the media. Individuals wishing to understand U.S. military operations in Yemen more fully should consult these official sources of information. USCENTCOM conducted a thorough review of the information AirWars provided regarding allegations of potential civilian harm caused by USCENTCOM strikes in Yemen from 2017-2020. Of the information AirWars provided, one strike on September 14, 2017, was assessed to have caused injuries to two civilians. Also, as previously released by USCENTCOM to the public in February 2017, USCENTCOM acknowledged there may have been civilian casualties during a raid on January 29, 2017. The bulk of the information asserted by AirWars, however, did not correspond with dates and locations of U.S. military strikes or raids in Yemen. Other AirWars allegations either did not allege civilian harm or were not assessed as credible upon our review. Consistent with our mission, our authorities, and our obligations under the law of war, USCENTCOM will continue to conduct military actions in Yemen when required to protect the Nation and our allies and partners from al Qa’ida and ISIS terror cells that are committed to inflicting terror. In every strike and raid, we take careful measures to minimize civilian harm and take responsibility for our actions. When our military operations result in reports of civilian harm, we will continue to assess the credibility of such reports to help us identify ways to improve our operations and respond as appropriate.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    1 – 3
  • (2 children1 man)
  • Civilians reported injured
    2–4
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Fair
    Reported by two or more credible sources, with likely or confirmed near actions by a belligerent.
  • Suspected attacker
    United States Armed Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP)
  • Belligerents reported killed
    1–3

Sources (30) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USYEMTr079-C

Incident date

April 23, 2017

Location

الضلعه, Al Dhula'ah, Shabwa, Yemen

Geolocation

14.36518, 47.001057 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Neighbourhood/area level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Neighbourhood/area

Airwars assessment

On April 24th 2017, Pentagon spokesperson Captain Jeff Davis stated that a US strike had killed eight AQAP militants in Shabwa governorate on the previous day, confirming earlier reports that an afternoon US drone strike in Al Dhula’ah, in the Al Said area, had killed eight people. Several sources reported, however, that at least three – and potentially all of those killed – were civilians.

Several sources reported that three civilians were killed in the attack, whom multiple sources named as cousins Mansour Salem Lahoul Al-Barasi Al-Awlaqi; Khaled bin Nasser Lahoul Al-Barasi Al-Awlaqi; and Nasser Muhammed Saeed Lahoul Al-Barasi Al-Awlaqi. According to one source, the cousins were members of the “Southern Resistance of Al Baras tribe”.

According to The Intercept, Mansour was “a former Yemeni Army lieutenant in his late thirties”, while, of his two 23-year-old cousins killed in the strike, Khalid was “home on vacation from Malaysia, where he was studying English”.

Sources differed on the exact circumstances of the reported civilian deaths.  According to Aden Al-Ghad, the cousins were driving behind a car carrying alleged AQAP militants, and were killed when a strike missed the AQAP vehicle and destroyed the civilian vehicle. Reuters reported that, according to residents and local sources, three civilians were killed “who happened to be passing nearby”.

Other sources, including AFP, suggested that the three civilians were killed in a second ‘double tap’ strike after having gone to the aid of those caught in a first strike.

The Intercept instead reported that the three men were at a security checkpoint at the time of the strike, when they were joined by a car full of five “local militants”, and were killed shortly after sending someone to fetch lunch.

According to multiple sources, the US drone strike took place at the Al-Saeed junction.  Most sources agreed that three AQAP militants were additionally killed in the strike, though several indicated that five had died.

However, speaking with The Intercept, Mansour Al-Awlaqi’s nephew, Ammar Salim Farid, denied that any of those killed were current AQAP members. “To be honest, the five people in the car had past links to [terror groups], but they had quit this movement two years ago,” he said.

Yemen Shabab named the dead alleged AQAP militants as Mohammed Awad Barasin; Shawky Awad Barasin; Abdullah Ali Barasin; Muhammad Ali Jaar; and Hamad Ali Jaar, and indicated that they were killed as they travelled to the Habban district.

Mohammed Awad Barasin was also reported to be the “second man” of AQAP in Shabwa governorate. The Pentagon told Fox News that he had “planned external attacks and coordinated the group’s movement of weapons and explosives”. However, Ammar Salim Farid Al-Awlaqi denied this, saying that Mohammed had been a member of both AQAP and the Islamic State, but had since left both groups.

Ammar told the Intercept that he heard the strike from his home. “We went to the cemetery and found Mansoor, Khalid, and Nasir, all but pieces of flesh [so] that we were not able to tell their appearances… It was a shock no human can accept and there’s anger at the U.S. government.”

The Bureau of Investigative Journalism later reported that, following The Intercept article, CENTCOM told the Bureau that “after a thorough review, they concluded the civilian casualty allegations from the strike were not credible”.

On April 24th 2017, the Pentagon announced that the US had carried out over eighty strikes in Yemen since February 28th 2017.

In its May 2018 annual civilian casualty report, the US Department of Defense stated that “there were credible reports of civilian casualties caused by U.S. military actions in Yemen against AQAP and ISIS during 2017”, but did not specify which specific actions these reports referred to.  Overall, the Department of Defense assessed that there were credible reports of “approximately 499 civilians killed and approximately 169 civilians injured during 2017”, as a result of US military actions in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, and Yemen.

Responding to Airwars’ publication of its Yemen dataset and accompanying report in October 2020, CENTCOM dismissed all but two civilian harm claims under President Trump, asserting that “USCENTCOM conducted a thorough review of the information AirWars provided regarding allegations of potential civilian harm caused by USCENTCOM strikes in Yemen from 2017-2020… The bulk of the information asserted by AirWars, however, did not correspond with dates and locations of U.S. military strikes or raids in Yemen.   Other AirWars allegations either did not allege civilian harm or were not assessed as credible upon our review.”

The incident occured in the afternoon.

The victims were named as:

Family members (3)

Family members (3)

Family members (2)

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    3 – 8
  • (3–8 men)
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Fair
    Reported by two or more credible sources, with likely or confirmed near actions by a belligerent.
  • Known attacker
    United States Armed Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP)
  • Belligerents reported killed
    3–8

Sources (39) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (8) [ collapse]

  • Khalid Nasir Abdullah Bin Lahul al-Barasi al-Awlaqi was reportedly killed in the April 23rd 2017 US drone, though several sources reported that he was a civilian (@alaqalaq, April 23rd 2017)
  • "This photo supplied by Ammar Salim Farid Alawlaqi shows Mansoor Allahwal Baras, killed in an April 23 drone strike, with a phrase attributed to the Prophet Muhammad that reads, “The eyes are shedding tears and the heart is in grief, and we will not say except what pleases our Lord. We belong to Allah and to Him we return.”" (The Intercept, May 19th 2017)
  • Mansour Salem Mansour bin Lahul Al-Barasi Al-Awlaqi was reportedly killed in the April 23rd 2017 US drone strike. Several sources reported that he was a civilian. (@alawalaq, April 23rd 2017)

Geolocation notes (1) [ collapse]

Reports of the incident mention a vehicle being struck in the Al Dhua’lia (الضلعه), in the vicinity of Habban (حبان) town. Due to limited satellite imagery and information available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further. The generic coordinates for Al Dhua’lia are: 14.36518, 47.001057.

  • Reports of the incident mention a vehicle being struck in the Al Dhua’lia (الضلعه), in the vicinity of Habban (حبان) town.

    Imagery:
    Google Earth

United States Armed Forces Assessment:

  • Known belligerent
    United States Armed Forces
  • United States Armed Forces position on incident
    Non credible / Unsubstantiated
    Insufficient information to assess that, more likely than not, a Coalition strike resulted in civilian casualties.
  • Reason for non-credible assessment
    No reason given
  • Civilian deaths conceded
    None
  • Civilian injuries conceded
    None

Civilian casualty statements

United States Armed Forces
  • Nov 5, 2020
  • May 4, 2017
  • We can confirm that there was a US strike in Marib on April 19 as well as a strike in Shabwah on April 23. We are aware of the reports of CIVCAS allegations and are looking into them. Regards, CENTCOM

  • Following the Intercept piece, we followed up with US Central Command. They said that after a thorough review, they concluded the civilian casualty allegations from the strike were not credible.

  • Via email: U.S. Central Command (USCENTCOM) continues to focus on ways to minimize civilian casualties during its military operations. We assess or review all reports of civilian casualties because such assessments or reviews help us identify ways to improve our operations and counter misinformation and propaganda. We routinely share the results of every one of our assessments in Department of Defense (DoD) reports to Congress, including annual reports, many of which are publicly available. We also share the results of our assessments or reviews with the public via the USCENTCOM website and our statements to the media. Individuals wishing to understand U.S. military operations in Yemen more fully should consult these official sources of information. USCENTCOM conducted a thorough review of the information AirWars provided regarding allegations of potential civilian harm caused by USCENTCOM strikes in Yemen from 2017-2020. Of the information AirWars provided, one strike on September 14, 2017, was assessed to have caused injuries to two civilians. Also, as previously released by USCENTCOM to the public in February 2017, USCENTCOM acknowledged there may have been civilian casualties during a raid on January 29, 2017. The bulk of the information asserted by AirWars, however, did not correspond with dates and locations of U.S. military strikes or raids in Yemen. Other AirWars allegations either did not allege civilian harm or were not assessed as credible upon our review. Consistent with our mission, our authorities, and our obligations under the law of war, USCENTCOM will continue to conduct military actions in Yemen when required to protect the Nation and our allies and partners from al Qa’ida and ISIS terror cells that are committed to inflicting terror. In every strike and raid, we take careful measures to minimize civilian harm and take responsibility for our actions. When our military operations result in reports of civilian harm, we will continue to assess the credibility of such reports to help us identify ways to improve our operations and respond as appropriate.

Original strike reports

United States Armed Forces

WASHINGTON, April 24, 2017 — Coalition and U.S. strikes continue to aid progress against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria in Iraq and Syria, and against al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula in Yemen, Pentagon spokesman Navy Capt. Jeff Davis said here today.
Today is day 65 of the operation to liberate western Mosul in Iraq, he said, and yesterday Iraqi forces gained another 6 square kilometers along the forward line of troops on the axis of attack moving from the south toward Mosul’s old city.
Members of the Iraqi Emergency Response Division and the Federal Police maintained defensive positions along their eastern boundary and the Tigress River. The Counterterrorism Service also gained new ground and the Iraqi army’s 9th Division continued to defend positions west of Mosul. Clearing operations continue in eastern Mosul, Davis reported.
Supporting Iraq Operations
“The total number of munitions delivered since Oct. 17 in support of operations to liberate Mosul is 22,107,” he added.
The munitions destroyed total 259 vehicle-borne bombs, 638 buildings and facilities, 209 tunnels, 684 vehicles, 914 bunkers, 38 anti-aircraft artillery systems, 542 artillery and mortar systems, and 279 boats and barges, Davis said.
On April 23, coalition military forces conducted seven strikes consisting of 49 engagements against ISIS targets.
Near Rawah, a strike engaged an ISIS tactical unit and destroyed an ISIS staging area, according to a statement by Operation Inherent Resolve officials.
Near Mosul, the officials said, six strikes engaged five ISIS tactical units; destroyed 11 fighting positions, eight heavy machine guns, four rocket-propelled grenade systems, two ISIS-held buildings, an ISIS-held bridge and a vehicle-borne bomb; damaged 14 ISIS supply routes and a fighting position; and suppressed four rocket teams, three mortar teams and an ISIS tactical unit.
Operations in Syria
In the fight for Raqqa in Syria, the Pentagon spokesman said, Syrian Democratic Forces have liberated another 2 square kilometers in the Raqqa valley north and Tabqah areas, and in the Raqqa valley north on the western axis.
“The SDF is reporting large numbers of internally displaced persons fleeing ISIS-held areas around there,” Davis added, noting that ISIS does not control the Tabqah dam or the city but the city is almost entirely surrounded.
In Syria yesterday, according to an OIR statement, coalition military forces conducted 24 strikes consisting of 48 engagements against ISIS targets.
Near Dayr Az Zawr, three strikes destroyed three ISIS wellheads. Near Palmyra, two strikes destroyed four fighting positions and two ISIS shipping containers.
Near Raqqa, seven strikes engaged three ISIS tactical units and destroyed three fighting positions, a heavy machine gun, a tactical vehicle and an ISIS wellhead. And near Tabqah, 12 strikes engaged 10 ISIS tactical units and destroyed 12 fighting positions, a tactical vehicle, an ISIS vehicle, a heavy machine gun and a command-and-control node.
Yemen Operations
U.S. forces conducted a strike April 18 in the Ma’rib governorate against three al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula terrorists, and another strike yesterday in the Shabwa governorate against eight al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula terrorists, Davis said.
“Since February 28, we've conducted more than 80 precision strikes against AQAP militants, infrastructure, fighting positions and equipment, and we'll continue to conduct operations including strikes against known terrorists,” he added.
Davis said U.S. forces are conducting a series of sustained operations in Yemen against al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula to degrade the group's ability to coordinate external terror attack operations and limit their ability to hold territory seized from the legitimate government of Yemen and use it as a safe haven for terror plotting.
Centcom is still assessing the results of the most recent strikes, he said.
(Follow Cheryl Pellerin on Twitter @PellerinDoDNews)

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    3 – 8
  • (3–8 men)
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Fair
    Reported by two or more credible sources, with likely or confirmed near actions by a belligerent.
  • Known attacker
    United States Armed Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP)
  • Belligerents reported killed
    3–8

Sources (39) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USYEMTr186-C

Incident date

January 21, 2019

Location

جعار, Ja'ar, Al Bayda, Yemen

Geolocation

14.25, 45.83333 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Neighbourhood/area level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Neighbourhood/area

Airwars assessment

One civilian, named as the elderly man Saleh Ahmed Mohammed al-Qaisi, was reportedly killed by a US drone strike in the vicinity of Ja’ar, in the Al Qayseen subdistrict, Sama’a district of Bayda governorate, at 10am on January 21st 2019.

US Central Command later confirmed to New America that a strike occurred in Bayda on January 21st 2019. Since this was the only known reported US strike in Bayda on that day, this event is treated as declared.

Al-Qaisi was allegedly killed by the strike as he drove near a health centre in the area, according to reporting by Al-Masdar Online and Mwatana for Human Rights. Local sources told news outlets, including Hunaa Al-Bayda, Al-Masdar Online, and Yemen Shabab, that Al-Qaisi had no affiliation with any militant or extremist groups. No known sources indicated that he was a belligerent.

Several local-language sources, such as Yemen Monitor, described Al-Qaisi as a construction worker. Mwatana reported that he was employed in Saudi Arabia as a wall painter, and had returned to Bayda to visit his family. Reports gave differing accounts of Al-Qaisi’s age at the time of the strike.  According to Mwatana, he was 55, though several local-language news and social-media sources indicated that he was 65. A few, including analyst Nadwa Dawsari (@NDawsari), stated that he was 67.

According to Mwatana, Saleh was targeted after taking his wife and three children to a relative’s house. Another relative, who spoke with him prior to the strike, told Mwatana “I had been on my bike when I met Uncle Saleh… he reminded me of some funny anecdotes while we were working in Saudi Arabia. Then he continued on his way… Suddenly, I heard an aircraft hitting his car”.

Another witness told Mwatana that the drone remained in the sky after the first strike, preventing others from helping Saleh. When he attempted to leave his car, another strike killed him. Locals described Saleh as “beloved, with good manners, and known as a person who did not involve himself in political or military affairs”.

A local source told Al-Masdar that the strike took place at 10am, and that drones had been flying over the area for the two previous days.

The day after the attack, Yemen Shabab, Huna Al-Bayda, and others reported that the Al-Qaisi tribe held a vigil for Saleh, holding banners condemning the government and the Saudi-led coalition for the killing of innocent civilians by US drones.

In its annual civilian casualty report for Congress issued in May 2020, the US Department of Defense stated that, as of March 1st 2020, it had assessed “no credible reports of civilian casualties resulting from US military actions in Yemen during 2019”. The report also asserted that US Central Command had not received “any reports from IOs or NGOs regarding potential civilian casualties caused by U.S. military action in Yemen in 2019”.

Responding to Airwars’ publication of its Yemen dataset and accompanying report in October 2020, CENTCOM dismissed all but two civilian harm claims under President Trump, asserting that “USCENTCOM conducted a thorough review of the information AirWars provided regarding allegations of potential civilian harm caused by USCENTCOM strikes in Yemen from 2017-2020… The bulk of the information asserted by AirWars, however, did not correspond with dates and locations of U.S. military strikes or raids in Yemen.   Other AirWars allegations either did not allege civilian harm or were not assessed as credible upon our review.”

The incident occured at 10:00 am local time.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    1
  • (1 man)
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Fair
    Reported by two or more credible sources, with likely or confirmed near actions by a belligerent.
  • Suspected attacker
    United States Armed Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP)

Sources (28) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (5) [ collapse]

  • Members of the Al-Qaysi tribe held a vigil for Saleh, condemning US drone strikes against civilians.
  • Members of the Al-Qaysi tribe held a vigil for Saleh, condemning US drone strikes against civilians.
  • Members of the Al-Qaysi tribe held a vigil for Saleh, condemning US drone strikes against civilians.
  • The strike reportedly took place in Bayda governorate; the US later reported that an undated January strike had taken place in Bayda (Almarsd Post, January 21st 2019)

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention a vehicle being struck in the vicinity of Ja’ar (جعار) village, within the Al Qayseen (القيسين) subdistrict. Due to limited satellite imagery and information available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further. The generic coordinates for Ja’ar are: 14.25, 45.83333.

United States Armed Forces Assessment:

  • Suspected belligerent
    United States Armed Forces
  • United States Armed Forces position on incident
    Non credible / Unsubstantiated
    Insufficient information to assess that, more likely than not, a Coalition strike resulted in civilian casualties.
  • Civilian deaths conceded
    None
  • Civilian injuries conceded
    None

Civilian casualty statements

United States Armed Forces
  • Nov 5, 2020
  • Via email to Airwars: U.S. Central Command (USCENTCOM) continues to focus on ways to minimize civilian casualties during its military operations. We assess or review all reports of civilian casualties because such assessments or reviews help us identify ways to improve our operations and counter misinformation and propaganda. We routinely share the results of every one of our assessments in Department of Defense (DoD) reports to Congress, including annual reports, many of which are publicly available. We also share the results of our assessments or reviews with the public via the USCENTCOM website and our statements to the media. Individuals wishing to understand U.S. military operations in Yemen more fully should consult these official sources of information. USCENTCOM conducted a thorough review of the information AirWars provided regarding allegations of potential civilian harm caused by USCENTCOM strikes in Yemen from 2017-2020. Of the information AirWars provided, one strike on September 14, 2017, was assessed to have caused injuries to two civilians. Also, as previously released by USCENTCOM to the public in February 2017, USCENTCOM acknowledged there may have been civilian casualties during a raid on January 29, 2017. The bulk of the information asserted by AirWars, however, did not correspond with dates and locations of U.S. military strikes or raids in Yemen. Other AirWars allegations either did not allege civilian harm or were not assessed as credible upon our review. Consistent with our mission, our authorities, and our obligations under the law of war, USCENTCOM will continue to conduct military actions in Yemen when required to protect the Nation and our allies and partners from al Qa’ida and ISIS terror cells that are committed to inflicting terror. In every strike and raid, we take careful measures to minimize civilian harm and take responsibility for our actions. When our military operations result in reports of civilian harm, we will continue to assess the credibility of such reports to help us identify ways to improve our operations and respond as appropriate.

Original strike reports

United States Armed Forces

Our Yemen strikes data has been updated for individualized dates after CENTCOM responded to an inquiry on the eight strikes in 2019. Strikes were as follows: 1/1, 1/21, 3/25, 3/25, 3/26, 3/28, 3/29, and 3/29. All but 1/1 in al Bayda'

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    1
  • (1 man)
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Fair
    Reported by two or more credible sources, with likely or confirmed near actions by a belligerent.
  • Suspected attacker
    United States Armed Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP)

Sources (28) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USYEMTr174-C

Incident date

July 22, 2018

Location

الروضة, Al Rawda, Ma'rib, Yemen

Geolocation

15.448882, 45.345554 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Neighbourhood/area level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Neighbourhood/area

Airwars assessment

At least three alleged AQAP militants were reportedly killed, and another injured, by a US drone strike against a house in Al Rawda, Marib governorate, on the evening of July 22nd 2018. A few social media sources at the time suggested that the strike had instead killed civilians.

A later US Central Command statement indicated that a strike had taken place on July 22nd, but CENTCOM later told the Bureau of Investigative Journalism that this declared strike was in Hadramout governorate rather than Marib, with the Bureau noting that “US Central Command said it conducted strikes on July 22 and 24, both in Hadramout governorate, in response to a Bureau query on the monthly strike total.”

Two local language Twitter sources, @ALARSH_NEWS and @HHHE201001, reported that a US drone had targeted Internally Displaced Persons in Rawdat Thanah, killing three and resulting in “a number” of wounded. Another Twitter account, @Abbas_477, stated only that a US drone was “bombing citizens in Marib”.

Most, however, indicated that AQAP militants were killed in the alleged strike. Anatolia Agency reported that three militants were killed and one injured, when a US drone targeted a meeting taking place in a house, according to a security officer.

Others, including AP, AFP, and local language social-media sources, indicated that a strike had killed four militants. Tribal leaders told AP that four bodies, allegedly AQAP militants, were found after the attack. One source, @ShabbirTuri, suggested that ten had died, though this figure is potentially a misinterpretation of a confusing AFP headline.

In its annual civilian casualty report to Congress issued in April 2019, the US Department of Defense stated that it had assessed “no credible reports of civilian casualties resulting from US military actions in Yemen during 2018″.

Responding to Airwars’ publication of its Yemen dataset and accompanying report in October 2020, CENTCOM dismissed all but two civilian harm claims under President Trump, asserting that “USCENTCOM conducted a thorough review of the information AirWars provided regarding allegations of potential civilian harm caused by USCENTCOM strikes in Yemen from 2017-2020… The bulk of the information asserted by AirWars, however, did not correspond with dates and locations of U.S. military strikes or raids in Yemen.   Other AirWars allegations either did not allege civilian harm or were not assessed as credible upon our review.”

The incident occured in the evening.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Likely strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    3
  • Civilians reported injured
    2
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Fair
    Reported by two or more credible sources, with likely or confirmed near actions by a belligerent.
  • Suspected attacker
    United States Armed Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP)
  • Belligerents reported killed
    3–10
  • Belligerents reported injured
    1

Sources (29) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (2) [ collapse]

Geolocation notes (1) [ collapse]

Reports of the incident mention a house being struck in the Al Rawda (الروضة) area, south of Mar’ib (مأرب) city. Due to limited satellite imagery and information available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further. The generic coordinates for Al Rawda are: 15.448882, 45.345554.

  • Reports of the incident mention a house being struck in the Al Rawda (الروضة) area, south of Mar’ib (مأرب) city.

    Imagery:
    Google Earth

United States Armed Forces Assessment:

  • Suspected belligerent
    United States Armed Forces
  • United States Armed Forces position on incident
    Non credible / Unsubstantiated
    Insufficient information to assess that, more likely than not, a Coalition strike resulted in civilian casualties.
  • Reason for non-credible assessment
    No reason given
  • Civilian deaths conceded
    None
  • Civilian injuries conceded
    None

Civilian casualty statements

United States Armed Forces
  • Nov 5, 2020
  • Apr 29, 2019
  • C. U.S. military action in Yemen against al-Qa’ida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and ISIS During 2018, U.S. forces deployed to Yemen continued to work towards disrupting and degrading the terrorist threat posed by AQAP and ISIS. U.S. forces conducted 36 airstrikes against AQAP and ISIS operatives and facilities in Yemen and supported United Arab Emirates and Yemen-led efforts to clear AQAP from Shabwah Governorate. DoD has no credible reports of civilian casualties resulting from U.S. military actions in Yemen during 2018.

  • Via email to Airwars: U.S. Central Command (USCENTCOM) continues to focus on ways to minimize civilian casualties during its military operations. We assess or review all reports of civilian casualties because such assessments or reviews help us identify ways to improve our operations and counter misinformation and propaganda. We routinely share the results of every one of our assessments in Department of Defense (DoD) reports to Congress, including annual reports, many of which are publicly available. We also share the results of our assessments or reviews with the public via the USCENTCOM website and our statements to the media. Individuals wishing to understand U.S. military operations in Yemen more fully should consult these official sources of information. USCENTCOM conducted a thorough review of the information AirWars provided regarding allegations of potential civilian harm caused by USCENTCOM strikes in Yemen from 2017-2020. Of the information AirWars provided, one strike on September 14, 2017, was assessed to have caused injuries to two civilians. Also, as previously released by USCENTCOM to the public in February 2017, USCENTCOM acknowledged there may have been civilian casualties during a raid on January 29, 2017. The bulk of the information asserted by AirWars, however, did not correspond with dates and locations of U.S. military strikes or raids in Yemen. Other AirWars allegations either did not allege civilian harm or were not assessed as credible upon our review. Consistent with our mission, our authorities, and our obligations under the law of war, USCENTCOM will continue to conduct military actions in Yemen when required to protect the Nation and our allies and partners from al Qa’ida and ISIS terror cells that are committed to inflicting terror. In every strike and raid, we take careful measures to minimize civilian harm and take responsibility for our actions. When our military operations result in reports of civilian harm, we will continue to assess the credibility of such reports to help us identify ways to improve our operations and respond as appropriate.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Likely strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    3
  • Civilians reported injured
    2
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Fair
    Reported by two or more credible sources, with likely or confirmed near actions by a belligerent.
  • Suspected attacker
    United States Armed Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP)
  • Belligerents reported killed
    3–10
  • Belligerents reported injured
    1

Sources (29) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USYEMTr096-C

Incident date

August 13, 2017

Location

المرون , بالقرب من الخبر, Al Maroun, in the vicinity of Al Khabr, Abyan, Yemen

Geolocation

13.434036, 46.166267 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Neighbourhood/area level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Neighbourhood/area

Airwars assessment

In an email to the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, US Central Command stated that a strike was conducted against AQAP in Abyan governorate on August 13th 2017, confirming multiple earlier reports that at least two alleged AQAP militants were killed in at least one afternoon US drone strike in Al Maroun, in the Khabr Maraqisha area of Abyan governorate.

While most sources reported that two AQAP militants were killed in the strike, one (@demolinari) suggested that “some locals” had claimed that neither were members of AQAP, raising the possibility of civilian harm, but noted that “some pro-AQAP channels suggest otherwise”. The same source also tweeted a photo of the dead, naming one as Abu Aseed Al-Marqashi, who was however apparently pictured as an active AQAP militant in Mukalla during “the 2015-16 period”.

Several other sources named the two dead as Khidr Saeed Al-Dahl, possibly also known as Al-Zuhal, and Nasser Bin Jarada.

Some suggested that more than two alleged militants were killed in the strike.  According to Xinhua, a Yemeni security source said that “about three wanted al-Qaida elements” were killed after two missiles were fired by a US drone. One local language Twitter source suggested that there were “reports of dozens” of militants killed in the Al-Maroun area. However this is not supported by any other source.

To reflect these claims, Airwars has assessed that between two and three militants were reportedly killed in this strike. A minimum of zero to two reported civilian deaths has also been set. Since only one source mentioned possible civilian harm, this claim has been assessed as “weak”.

Sources differed on the exact circumstances of the strike. Some suggested that the attack killed two men while they stood next to a water well, while others reported that a vehicle, either a car or a motorcycle, was targeted in the area. One alleged photo of the scene showed a destroyed car. Several sources reported that the strike took place at 4pm.

Though most sources attributed the strike to the US, one source suggested that strikes were carried out by UAE air forces.  Since the US Central Command later confirmed a strike in the area, Airwars has not assessed this strike as Contested.

Xinhua reported that, according to local sources, two other strikes targeted alleged AQAP militants in the same area and time period. According to these sources, “two other hideouts of the al-Qaida group in the area were bombed in an earlier attack that took place at about 2pm local time”.  It was not clear whether these were alleged US strikes and no additional details were provided.  No other known sources reported these additional strikes.

According to Aden al-Ghad, “dozens” of families were displaced following the attack “for fear of indiscriminate shelling”.

In an email to the Bureau, US Central Command said at the time that it was still assessing the results of the strike.

In its May 2018 annual civilian casualty report, the US Department of Defense stated that “there were credible reports of civilian casualties caused by U.S. military actions in Yemen against AQAP and ISIS during 2017”, but did not specify which specific actions these reports referred to.  Overall, the Department of Defense assessed that there were credible reports of “approximately 499 civilians killed and approximately 169 civilians injured during 2017”, as a result of US military actions in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, and Yemen.

Responding to Airwars’ publication of its Yemen dataset and accompanying report in October 2020, CENTCOM dismissed all but two civilian harm claims under President Trump, asserting that “USCENTCOM conducted a thorough review of the information AirWars provided regarding allegations of potential civilian harm caused by USCENTCOM strikes in Yemen from 2017-2020… The bulk of the information asserted by AirWars, however, did not correspond with dates and locations of U.S. military strikes or raids in Yemen.   Other AirWars allegations either did not allege civilian harm or were not assessed as credible upon our review.”

The incident occured at 4:00 pm local time.

  • Khidr Saeed Al-Dahl Adult male Apart from one source, reported to be an AQAP militant killed
  • Nasser Bin Jarada Adult male Apart from one source, reported to be an AQAP militant killed

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    0 – 2
  • (0–2 men)
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Weak
    Single source claim, though sometimes featuring significant information.
  • Known attacker
    United States Armed Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP)
  • Belligerents reported killed
    2–3

Sources (36) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (4) [ collapse]

  • Several sources suggested that the strike targeted a vehicle travelling in Al-Maroun, Khabr Maraqisha area (@AwdMohmmed, August 13th 2017)
  • According to several sources, two alleged militants were killed in a US drone strike on August 13th 2017 (@demolinari, August 13th 2017)
  • One of those reportedly killed, named as "Abu Aseed Al-Marqashi", reportedly pictured as an AQAP fighter in Mukalla during the "2015-16 period" (@demolinari, August 16th 2017).

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention the Al Maroun (المرون) area, allegedly in vicinity of Al Khabr (الخبر), south of the Al Maraqisha mountains (جبل المراقشه). Due to limited satellite imagery and information available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further. The generic coordinates for Al Khabr are: 13.434036, 46.166267.

United States Armed Forces Assessment:

  • Known belligerent
    United States Armed Forces
  • United States Armed Forces position on incident
    Non credible / Unsubstantiated
    Insufficient information to assess that, more likely than not, a Coalition strike resulted in civilian casualties.
  • Civilian deaths conceded
    None
  • Civilian injuries conceded
    None

Civilian casualty statements

United States Armed Forces
  • Nov 5, 2020
  • Via email: U.S. Central Command (USCENTCOM) continues to focus on ways to minimize civilian casualties during its military operations. We assess or review all reports of civilian casualties because such assessments or reviews help us identify ways to improve our operations and counter misinformation and propaganda. We routinely share the results of every one of our assessments in Department of Defense (DoD) reports to Congress, including annual reports, many of which are publicly available. We also share the results of our assessments or reviews with the public via the USCENTCOM website and our statements to the media. Individuals wishing to understand U.S. military operations in Yemen more fully should consult these official sources of information. USCENTCOM conducted a thorough review of the information AirWars provided regarding allegations of potential civilian harm caused by USCENTCOM strikes in Yemen from 2017-2020. Of the information AirWars provided, one strike on September 14, 2017, was assessed to have caused injuries to two civilians. Also, as previously released by USCENTCOM to the public in February 2017, USCENTCOM acknowledged there may have been civilian casualties during a raid on January 29, 2017. The bulk of the information asserted by AirWars, however, did not correspond with dates and locations of U.S. military strikes or raids in Yemen. Other AirWars allegations either did not allege civilian harm or were not assessed as credible upon our review. Consistent with our mission, our authorities, and our obligations under the law of war, USCENTCOM will continue to conduct military actions in Yemen when required to protect the Nation and our allies and partners from al Qa’ida and ISIS terror cells that are committed to inflicting terror. In every strike and raid, we take careful measures to minimize civilian harm and take responsibility for our actions. When our military operations result in reports of civilian harm, we will continue to assess the credibility of such reports to help us identify ways to improve our operations and respond as appropriate.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    0 – 2
  • (0–2 men)
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Weak
    Single source claim, though sometimes featuring significant information.
  • Known attacker
    United States Armed Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP)
  • Belligerents reported killed
    2–3

Sources (36) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USYEMTr084-C

Incident date

May 23, 2017

Location

النجاد العذلان, Al Nijad Al Adhlan, Marib, Yemen

Geolocation

15.18779, 45.16637 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Village level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Village

Airwars assessment

At least five civilians, including a fifteen-year-old boy and man over the age of 70, were reportedly killed in a US special forces ground operation in Al Khthala village, in the Al Jubah area of Marib governorate, beginning at around 1am on May 23rd 2017, though official US accounts of the raid claimed that there were “no credible indications of civilian casualties”. According to US Central Command, the raid instead resulted in the deaths of seven AQAP militants. US forces were also injured in the attack, the Pentagon later said.

Multiple sources, including The Intercept, Reprieve, and Al-Arabi, reported that, according to local sources, a total of five civilians were in fact killed in the raid.  Reprieve and other sources named those civilians killed as Nasser Ali Mahdi Al-Adhal, Al-Ghader Saleh Salem Al-Adhal, Saleh Al-Taffaf, Yasser Al-Taffaf Al-Adhel, and fifteen-year-old Abdullah (nicknamed Shibraeen) Saeed Salem Al-Adhal.  All of these names are generally masculine.

Dhabia Ahmed, the mother of Abdullah, told PBS Frontline that he was a conscript in the Yemeni army, and that he and other men were just trying to defend their families that night. When he died, Dhabia said, “He called out to me, “Mom!” “Make peace with God,” I said. His nickname was Shibraeen. I told him, “Shibraeen, my love, make peace with God. Patience, my love.””

According to The Intercept, Abdullah was reportedly shot as he ran from US forces. Murad Al-Adhal, the 22-year-old brother of Abdullah, who was also injured in the raid, told The Intercept that he was woken by gunfire at 1:30am. As helicopters fired on buildings, he said, “my little brother Abdullah ran for his life with the other women and children. They killed him as he was running”.

Both Reprieve and The Intercept reported that Nasser Ali Mahdi Al-Adhal, aged at least 70 and partially blind, was killed by US SEALs while attempting to greet the troops, having allegedly mistaken them for guests. According to Reprieve, “four other villagers were killed when they started to argue with the US soldiers after the shooting of Nasser al-Adhal”.

Most reports suggested that six civilians were injured in the raid, including a 69-year-old “who was shot in the leg”, according to Reprieve. The Intercept, however, gave a figure of five wounded civilians, based on conversations with village residents. Local sources told Al-Arabi that seven civilians, all from the Al-Adhal family, were wounded, naming three of the victims as Murad Saeed Salem Al-Adhal, Othman Muhammad Salih Al-Adhal, and Mabkhoot Ali Ali Arfaj Al-Adhal.  According to The Intercept, Murad was shot in the leg, and Othman was aged twelve.

PBS Frontline also reported that then-six-year-old Mujahid al-Adhal’s back and hearing were injured when a block of cement fell on him during the raid. His uncle, Al-Ghader Saleh Salem Al-Adhal, was one of those killed.

Statements by US Central Command and from Pentagon spokesperson Captain Jeff Davis indicated that seven AQAP militants were killed in the raid against an AQAP “compound”, through a combination of “small arms fire and precision airstrikes”.  According to Davis, the raid targeted “a headquarters, a place to meet and plan for external operations and to lead [AQAP]”, and aimed at gathering intelligence on AQAP, including laptops and cellphones.

However, reports that civilians were killed in the raid cast doubt upon this figure, particularly given that, according to a US Department of Defense statement, “no civilian casualties were reported, and based on observations on the ground and in the sky, there are no credible indications of such casualties”.

According to Reprieve, “at least two” AQAP militants were in fact killed in the raid, having joined the firefight after US troops landed. The Intercept reported that, according to a senior figure in the village, seven men who were guests in one house were killed, possibly accounting for the seven militants reported killed by the US. The report did not identify the seven, nor were they described as either civilians or militants. Anatolia Agency reported that six “tribal gunmen” from the Al-Adhal family were killed and eight wounded, though stated that it was unknown whether they were noncombatant civilians or militants.

Long War Journal reported that “no senior al Qaeda leaders or operatives” were killed in the raid. According to one Twitter source, locals claimed that seven reported deaths were all members of the “Saudi-paid anti-Houthi resistance”, though it was unclear if this was incompatible with also being an AQAP member. Reporter Iona Craig tweeted that one of the village’s dead was a “serving soldier” with the Saudi-led Coalition, likely referring to fifteen-year-old Abdullah, though there were no indications that he was on military duty at the time of the raid.

According to Al-Arabim, Abdul Rahman Al-Adhal, leader of the Salafi Rashad party in Marib, denied any AQAP presence in the village, saying that one person, seemingly describing an AQAP member, was “advised and moderated”.

A local tribesman told Nadwa Dawsari, for her report Foe Not Friend, that three members of the al-Adhal clan, part of the Murad tribe, had been previously recruited by AQAP. After one was killed by a US strike in April 2017 (USYEMTr081-C), Dawsari wrote, “tribal leaders asked the clan to take strict action against the two surviving men, giving them the option to leave AQAP or to leave the area. The leaders stated that if the men chose to remain with AQAP, their tribe would disown them. The two men reportedly decided to leave AQAP but feared that the group would target them, since it kills those who leave it after swearing allegiance. ‘If we stayed with the tribe, al-Qaeda will kill us. If we stay with al-Qaeda, the Americans will kill us,’ one reportedly said”. Both were reportedly killed in the course of this raid.

A maximum of twelve civilian deaths are recorded for this event, inclusive of the possibility that the seven “guests” reportedly killed were civilian casualties additional to the five minimum civilian dead widely agreed upon. A minimum of two militant deaths have been recorded, based on the Reprieve report and the possibility that the US claim of seven AQAP deaths included the minimum five reported civilian deaths. The maximum has been set at seven, reflecting US claims.

The minimum number of reported civilian injuries has been set at five, drawing on the reporting of The Intercept. The maximum has been set at ten, including the eight potential civilian “gunmen” wounded according to the Anatolia Agency, along with two children. The minimum number of reported militant injuries has been set at zero, given that no sources explicitly mentioned injured militants, with a maximum of eight, accounting for the possibility that all of the eight injured “gunmen” referred to by Al-Arabi were in fact civilian combatants.

A local source told Al-Arabi that US forces sustained “deaths and injuries”. Pentagon spokesperson Captain Jeff Davis told the press, including the Military Times, that US SEALs sustained “ambulatory” wounds during the raid, but that there were no known US deaths. To reflect these claims, both alleged military deaths and injuries have been set at two.

A few social media sources also claimed, in the immediate aftermath of the raid, that an “American statement” had announced that two US soldiers were killed, which one source named as Robert Akashi, aged 29, and George Bell, aged 24. The source, @greeb32165, also claimed that a second lieutenant, Randy Kilonne, was wounded. However, no statement or any other sources could be found that mentioned these names, and this specific claim may have been fabricated.  A single Twitter source, @MasadryNet, indicated that, according to an “agency”, seven American soldiers had been killed; this likely reflects a misquote of the US claim that seven AQAP militants had been killed.

Sources reported that the raid, which most suggested lasted for around an hour, began at around 1am on May 23rd. According to the Associated Press, helicopters landed troops on the outskirts of Juba, before becoming engaged in a firefight. Local sources reported to The Intercept that between 40 and 60 troops attacked the village, alongside “eight or nine attack helicopters and other aircraft”.

A villager, Abu Mujahid, told PBS Frontline that “[Americans] came on foot when people were sleeping. Some came from the valley. Others from this side. Everywhere. The top of the hill was full of them”. Dhabia Ahmed said that “missiles fell at the front and back of the house. We woke up covered in broken glass and bullet shells. My children and I tried to run away so they wouldn’t capture us. They even had dogs”.

PBS Frontline also reported that, amongst US-issue equipment left in the village after the raid, a medical backpack was found that contained a list of twenty-two names and two dogs. PBS Frontline confirmed that the names listed were of Navy SEALs.

According to a tweet from Dr Elizabeth Kendall, an AQAP statement claimed that the raid targeted the home of “M. Sa’id al-A’dhal al-Muradi”, allegedly killed in a US drone strike in the area one month earlier (USYEMTr081-C), and that US SEALs fired indiscriminately when they couldn’t enter a house, killing five people including a man aged around 80.

The World Socialist Website reported that, according to local media, 30 troops were involved in the raid, mostly American but “including some from the Saudi-led force”.  The Intercept also reported that, according to local sources, Emirati special forces were involved in the raid.

Sources reported that the raid was preceded by air strikes, carried out by drones and helicopters. According to Al-Arabi, seven strikes took place before or during the arrival of troops. Air support continued throughout the operation; CENTCOM stated that strikes were carried out by an AC-130 gunship in support of the raid. According to Al-Arabi, 60  missiles were reportedly fired at the village during the clashes. The Intercept reported that airstrikes resulted in the deaths of many livestock in the area.

Locals told Al-Masdar News that the raid focused on four houses, including that of Sheikh Abdul Rahman Al-Athal, the leader of the Salafi Rashad Party in Marib. Four homes were reportedly destroyed in the operation, possibly “burned”, alongside further damage to other buildings in the area. According to Al-Arabi, a number of families were displaced as a result of the raid.

According to Al-Masdar News, Sputnik Arabic had claimed that the operation targeted twelve AQAP members, principally Saudis, who had arrived from Shabwa some hours before the raid. This report suggested that US forces, landing in “the areas of Jaw Al Melah and Najd Maqad”, captured twelve militants, and became engaged in a firefight with local tribesmen who were sheltering AQAP members. The reported Sputnik Arabic article could not be found.  One other source mentioned “unconfirmed reports” that between six and nine Saudi AQAP militants were captured, though no other known sources reported this.

The Al-Adhal family reportedly belongs to the Murad tribe, the largest tribe of Marib governorate, with around 60,000 members. According to The Intercept, the village was in the midst of a long-running “confrontation” over the issue of locals sheltering AQAP militants, with a “senior figure” telling the outlet that “I just needed more time to save my own people from this. There was a collective effort to kick out Al Qaeda”.  On May 26th, Adhal tribesmen reportedly staged a protest, using the Arabic hashtag “Al-Adhal are not Al-Qaeda”.

The Al-Jubah area was, one month earlier, the target of a previous reported US airstrike, on April 30th (USYEMTr081-C), which allegedly killed at least two civilians. On May 26th, locals protested the latest US attack and the killing of civilians.

In its May 2018 annual civilian casualty report, the US Department of Defense stated that “there were credible reports of civilian casualties caused by U.S. military actions in Yemen against AQAP and ISIS during 2017”, but did not specify which specific actions these reports referred to.  Overall, the Department of Defense assessed that there were credible reports of “approximately 499 civilians killed and approximately 169 civilians injured during 2017”, as a result of US military actions in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, and Yemen.

Responding to Airwars’ publication of its Yemen dataset and accompanying report in October 2020, CENTCOM dismissed all but two civilian harm claims under President Trump, asserting that “USCENTCOM conducted a thorough review of the information AirWars provided regarding allegations of potential civilian harm caused by USCENTCOM strikes in Yemen from 2017-2020… The bulk of the information asserted by AirWars, however, did not correspond with dates and locations of U.S. military strikes or raids in Yemen.   Other AirWars allegations either did not allege civilian harm or were not assessed as credible upon our review.”

The incident occured at 1:00 am local time.

The victims were named as:

Family members (10)

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Counter-Terrorism Action (Ground), Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    5 – 12
  • (1 child4–11 men)
  • Civilians reported injured
    5–10
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Fair
    Reported by two or more credible sources, with likely or confirmed near actions by a belligerent.
  • Known attacker
    United States Armed Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP)
  • Belligerents reported killed
    4–9
  • Belligerents reported injured
    2–10

Sources (71) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (10) [ collapse]

  • The May 23rd 2017 raid reportedly resulted in the destruction of four buildings in the Al-Jubah area (Reprieve, May 23rd 2017)
  • Nasser Al-Adhal, aged over seventy and partially-sighted, was reportedly killed by US SEALs as he mistakenly attempted to greet them as guests (@Reprieve, May 24th 2017)
  • In a statement, AQAP stated that the area was not the site of an AQAP base, and that US forces fired "indiscriminately", killing civilians (@terror_monitor, May 26th 2017)
  • On May 26th 2017, members of the Al-Adhal tribe protested against the US raid, with the Arabic hashtag "Al-Adhal are not al Qaeda" (@Dr_E_Kendall, May 26th 2017)
  • AQAP propaganda exploited the May 23rd raid (@Dr_E_Kendall, May 31st 2017)
  • PBS Frontline visited the village targeted by the raid, interviewing multiple villagers including Dhabia Ahmed and Mujahid al-Adhal

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention the area occupied by the Al Adhlan (العذلان) tribe in the vicinity of Al Khathla (الخثلة) village. A possible location for this area is Al Nijad Al Adhlan (النجاد العذلان), for which the coordinates are: 15.18779, 45.16637. Due to limited satellite imagery and information available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further.

United States Armed Forces Assessment:

  • Known belligerent
    United States Armed Forces
  • United States Armed Forces position on incident
    Non credible / Unsubstantiated
    Insufficient information to assess that, more likely than not, a Coalition strike resulted in civilian casualties.
  • Reason for non-credible assessment
    Insufficient evidence of civilian harm

Civilian casualty statements

United States Armed Forces
  • Nov 5, 2020
  • May 23, 2017
  • May 23, 2017
  • "No civilian casualties were reported, and based on observations on the ground and in the sky, there are no credible indications of such casualties, Davis said."

  • "Reprieve, a London-based human rights organization, said five civilians had been killed in the raid, including a 70-year-old, partly blind man who was shot when he tried to greet the Navy SEALs, mistaking them for guests arriving in the village. But Captain Davis said, “We don’t have reason to believe that’s the case.”"

  • Via email: U.S. Central Command (USCENTCOM) continues to focus on ways to minimize civilian casualties during its military operations. We assess or review all reports of civilian casualties because such assessments or reviews help us identify ways to improve our operations and counter misinformation and propaganda. We routinely share the results of every one of our assessments in Department of Defense (DoD) reports to Congress, including annual reports, many of which are publicly available. We also share the results of our assessments or reviews with the public via the USCENTCOM website and our statements to the media. Individuals wishing to understand U.S. military operations in Yemen more fully should consult these official sources of information. USCENTCOM conducted a thorough review of the information AirWars provided regarding allegations of potential civilian harm caused by USCENTCOM strikes in Yemen from 2017-2020. Of the information AirWars provided, one strike on September 14, 2017, was assessed to have caused injuries to two civilians. Also, as previously released by USCENTCOM to the public in February 2017, USCENTCOM acknowledged there may have been civilian casualties during a raid on January 29, 2017. The bulk of the information asserted by AirWars, however, did not correspond with dates and locations of U.S. military strikes or raids in Yemen. Other AirWars allegations either did not allege civilian harm or were not assessed as credible upon our review. Consistent with our mission, our authorities, and our obligations under the law of war, USCENTCOM will continue to conduct military actions in Yemen when required to protect the Nation and our allies and partners from al Qa’ida and ISIS terror cells that are committed to inflicting terror. In every strike and raid, we take careful measures to minimize civilian harm and take responsibility for our actions. When our military operations result in reports of civilian harm, we will continue to assess the credibility of such reports to help us identify ways to improve our operations and respond as appropriate.

Original strike reports

United States Armed Forces

Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula is a formidable terror group that remains intent on attacking Americans and the U.S. homeland, Navy Capt. Jeff Davis, director of Pentagon press operations, told reporters today.

Air commandos from the 4th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron fulfill their duties at Hurlburt Field, Fla., July 7, 2016, by working on a AC-130U Spooky gunship. The AC-130's main mission is to provide close air support, air interdiction and armed reconnaissance and was used in the May 22, 2017, counterterrorism raid against al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula operatives in the Marib governorate of Yemen.

Davis addressed yesterday’s U.S. Special Operations counterterrorism raid that killed seven al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula operatives in Yemen’s Marib governorate, located about 150 miles north of Aden, the country’s capital.
Special Forces raided an al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula compound comprising a few buildings, he said, adding, “[al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula was] using this as a headquarters, a place to meet and plan for external operations and to lead the group.”
First Raid Deep In Yemen
The raid marked the first time the United States conducted an operation into Marib governorate, and the location was the deepest the military has gone into Yemen to fight al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, Davis said.
“The intent of the raid was to disrupt AQAP operations,” he said, noting that “at least” seven al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula militants were killed with small-arms fire and precision airstrikes from an AC-130 gunship.
No civilian casualties were reported, and based on observations on the ground and in the sky, there are no credible indications of such casualties, Davis said.
Dangerous Terrorists
“AQAP has significant amounts of American blood on its hands,” he said. “It is an organization that has used the ungoverned spaces in Yemen to plot, direct and inspire terrorist attacks against America, our citizens and our allies around the world.”
Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula attacked the U.S. embassy in Sanaa, Yemen, in 2008; attempted to down Northwest Airlines Flight 253 on Christmas Day in 2009; and conspired to send explosive-laden parcels to Chicago in 2010, he said.
Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula's English-language magazine, Inspire, also has been used to encourage attacks against the West, Davis said, citing multiple attacks that include the Boston Marathon bombing in 2013, the Fort Hood mass shooting in 2009 and other lone-wolf attacks in the United States and Europe.
Yemen Authorized Operation
Yesterday’s raid was conducted under the same U.S. authorities as those granted in advance of the earlier, Jan. 28 raid, which included authorities for airstrikes and follow-on action, he said.
The operation had the support and cooperation of the Yemen government, and was done in conjunction with U.S. partners, the spokesman said.
“We will continue to support Yemen in bringing stability to the region by fighting known terrorist organizations like AQAP,” Davis said.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Counter-Terrorism Action (Ground), Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    5 – 12
  • (1 child4–11 men)
  • Civilians reported injured
    5–10
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Fair
    Reported by two or more credible sources, with likely or confirmed near actions by a belligerent.
  • Known attacker
    United States Armed Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP)
  • Belligerents reported killed
    4–9
  • Belligerents reported injured
    2–10

Sources (71) [ collapse]