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

USYEMTr234-C

Incident date

March 16, 2021

Location

حي جو النسيم, Jao Al-Naseem, Marib, Yemen

Airwars assessment

Local sources in Marib reported casualties among civilians as a result of a reported attack either by a US-drone on a car entering a popular market in Marib – or by a Houthi balluistic missile strike on the market – on March 16th, 2021.

While @aalnaasi said the attack happened on Dahbeel station in Al-Naseem, @assssa1234a said that the attack led to the killing of two people who were in the car, and the injuring of citizens who were in the vicinity.

The Yemeni news agency Saba claimed that a US drone had targeted an unknown car as it entered a crowd of citizens’ vehicles in the Jao Al-Naseem neighbourhood, east of the city of Ma’rib. A local source told Saba that ” an American drone targeted an unidentified car with a laser-guided missile while entering the middle of a car gathering in the Jao Al-Naseem neighborhood, resulting in deaths on board the car and wounding a number of citizens near it.”

Saba also claimed that “It is noteworthy that American drones have intensified their raids on the governorates of Marib and Shabwa over the past few days.” However no further proofs were offered to support that claim.

While most sources blamed a US drone for the attack, al Jazeera reported ” 2 dead and 7 wounded due to the fall of a ballistic missile fired by the Houthis on a popular market in Marib city”.

The identity of those killed is not clear yet and no further information is presently available. A a possible moratorium on US strikes in Yemen by the Biden Administration may also have been in operation since January 20th 2021.

The incident occured in the afternoon.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Contested strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike and/or Artillery
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    2
  • Civilians reported injured
    7
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Contested
    Competing claims of responsibility e.g. multiple belligerents, or casualties also attributed to ground forces.
  • Suspected attackers
    United States Armed Forces, Houthi Forces
  • Suspected target
    Unknown
  • Belligerents reported killed
    2

Sources (10) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (1) [ collapse]

United States Armed Forces Assessment:

  • Suspected belligerent
    United States Armed Forces
  • United States Armed Forces position on incident
    Not yet assessed

Houthi Forces Assessment:

  • Suspected belligerent
    Houthi Forces
  • Houthi Forces position on incident
    Not yet assessed

Summary

  • Strike status
    Contested strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike and/or Artillery
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    2
  • Civilians reported injured
    7
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Contested
    Competing claims of responsibility e.g. multiple belligerents, or casualties also attributed to ground forces.
  • Suspected attackers
    United States Armed Forces, Houthi Forces
  • Suspected target
    Unknown
  • Belligerents reported killed
    2

Sources (10) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USYEMTr233

Incident date

December 14, 2020

Location

البطحة, Al Batha area, Marib, Yemen

Airwars assessment

At least one person, believed to be affiliated with Al Qaeda, was reported killed in an alleged US drone strike on a motorcycle in the Al Batha area, Marib governorate, on December 14th, 2020, according to local sources.

Al Arabiya reported that according to a source within the local authority in Marib, “an unmanned drone, likely to be an American, launched a raid on an al-Qaeda operative in the Al Batha area, isolating the forts of Al Jalal in the Wadi Directorate, northeast of the city of Ma’rib.”

@Ywbmmd tweeted that “a drone, believed to be an American, targeted a motorcycle in which a person (believed to be affiliated with Al Qaeda) was travelling in the Al Batha area – the car market in the forts of Al Jalal.” According to @Abolbrahim2018, the victim was a senior leader of Al Qaeda.

Several sources, including Al Hadath Center, reported two killed Al Qaeda militants.  @mobass20 was the only source reporting that the motorcycle was carrying three Al Qaeda militants.

According to Yemen Post, the event took place in the “Al Batha area in the car market in the forts of Al Jalal of the Wadi Directorate.”

Sahaftak wrote that “local sources said that a drone bombed a motorcycle carrying two Al Qaeda operatives in the Al Jalal fortress area in the valley, killing two Al Qaeda operatives and burning the motorcycle.”

@saifbinrashid7 reported that “an Al Qaeda operative was killed in Marib by bombing of an American drone.”

According to Al Sharae News, the identity of the target was unknown. The source added that the killed man’s “body parts were littered with his motorcycle”.

Al Hadath Center reported that “the airstrike resulted in the killing of the target and the burning of his bicycle, without identifying him.”

All sources blamed the United States for the strike.

The incident occured in the evening.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Likely strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    None known
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Suspected attacker
    United States Armed Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP)
  • Belligerents reported killed
    1–3

Sources (34) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (2) [ collapse]

  • Translation: “A drone, believed to be an American, targeted a motorcycle in which a person (believed to be affiliated with Al-Qaeda) was traveling in the Al-Batha area - the car market in the forts of Al Jalal” (via @aden_news24).
  • Aftermath of an alleged US drone strike on motorcycle reportedly carrying an Al Qaeda operative near Al Batha area, Marib governorate, on December 14th, 2020 (via @aden_news24).

United States Armed Forces Assessment:

  • Suspected belligerent
    United States Armed Forces
  • United States Armed Forces position on incident
    Not yet assessed

Summary

  • Strike status
    Likely strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    None known
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Suspected attacker
    United States Armed Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP)
  • Belligerents reported killed
    1–3

Sources (34) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USYEMTr232

Incident date

November 14, 2020

Location

استراحة النخيل ـ محطة بن معيلي, Al-Nakhil Resthouse - Bin Maeili Station, Marib, Yemen

Airwars assessment

Local sources reported the injury of up to three members of Al-Qaeda after a drone attack that targeted them near a farm close to Bin Maeili Station in Wadi Abeeda, Ma’reb on November 14th, 2020.

@abdalrzeg8713 tweeted that one of the three members was injured by a US drone attack. However, 7adramout.net said that three members were injured.

@AAAATW2 attributed the responsibility to a ‘third party’ saying that it could be Emarati, Saudi, transitional or Afashi.

The incident occured in the morning.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Contested strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    None known
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Suspected attacker
    United States Armed Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP)
  • Belligerents reported injured
    1–3

Sources (8) [ collapse]

United States Armed Forces Assessment:

  • Suspected belligerent
    United States Armed Forces
  • United States Armed Forces position on incident
    Not yet assessed

Summary

  • Strike status
    Contested strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    None known
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Suspected attacker
    United States Armed Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP)
  • Belligerents reported injured
    1–3

Sources (8) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USYEMTr231-C

Incident date

October 27, 2020

Location

عرق آل شبوان, Irq Al Shabwan, Ma'rib, Yemen

Geolocation

15.51479, 45.37014 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Village level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Village

Airwars assessment

A US drone strike reportedly targeted alleged AQAP militants’ Vitara vehicle in the ‘Irq Al Shabwan area of Al Wadi district in Marib governorate on 27 October 2020 killing between two and three militants and wounding one, according to local sources. Almawqaea Post noted that a local source had named the militants as being members of the Al Suwari family. There were no known associated reports of civilian harm.

Many sources reported that the drone strike totally burned the car, killing two people inside, and critically wounding a third one. However, Aden news agency said that the two killed people belong to the Islah Party “the de facto ruler of the city and its surroundings since late 2015.” Also 7adramout.net said the identity of those killed is unknown.

Multiple news sources reported that the strike was believed to have been carried out by the US, given previous strikes in the area. Most reports referred to two militants being killed, although two sources including Yemen Now News reported that all three were killed.  No reports referred to whether the third may have died from his wounds.

The incident likely occurred in the afternoon, given the time media reports started to publish. One of the first news reports, by Adengad.net, stated that a “drone believed to be an American targeted an Al-Qaeda vehicle in the Ma’rib governorate”, citing local sources as saying that the car was carrying Al-Qaeda operatives. Only one source, AlAyyam, said the incident happened in the evening.

 

The incident occured in the afternoon.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Likely strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    2 – 3
  • Civilians reported injured
    1
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Contested
    Competing claims of responsibility e.g. multiple belligerents, or casualties also attributed to ground forces.
  • Suspected attacker
    United States Armed Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP)
  • Belligerents reported killed
    2–3
  • Belligerents reported injured
    1

Sources (29) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (3) [ collapse]

  • Caption translation:A drone (believed to be American) targeted a car believed to be carrying two members of Al-Qaeda organization in Yemen in the Irq Al Shabwan region in Marib governorate this afternoon.
  • Map shows area of drone strike in early this year as well (pins on right) ... @CarvajalF 27th October 2020

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention a vehicle being struck in Irq Al Shabwan (عرق آل شبوان), west of the Ma’rib (مأرب) city, for which the generic coordinates are: 15.51479, 45.37014. This location is confirmed in a tweet by @CarvajalF. However, due to limited satellite imagery and information available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further.

United States Armed Forces Assessment:

  • Suspected belligerent
    United States Armed Forces
  • United States Armed Forces position on incident
    Not yet assessed

Summary

  • Strike status
    Likely strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    2 – 3
  • Civilians reported injured
    1
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Contested
    Competing claims of responsibility e.g. multiple belligerents, or casualties also attributed to ground forces.
  • Suspected attacker
    United States Armed Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP)
  • Belligerents reported killed
    2–3
  • Belligerents reported injured
    1

Sources (29) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USYEMTr230

Incident date

September 4, 2020

Location

شقرة, Shakra, Abyan, Yemen

Geolocation

13.35663, 45.699426 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Town level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Town

Airwars assessment

Some local-language social media sources suggested that a US drone strike targeted alleged militants in Shaqra, Khanfar district of Abyan governorate, early on September 4th 2020. Most reports, however, instead indicated that strikes had been carried out by a drone of the UAE or UAE-backed Southern Transitional Council just after midnight, targeting forces associated with the Saudi-backed government of President Hadi. There were no known reports of civilian harm.

Two of the sources that alleged US responsibility for the strike indicated that AQAP or ISIS militants had been the target. One local-language Twitter user, @marib__dam, reported that a US drone had bombed a “car carrying al-Qaeda operatives, including Abu al-Bara al-Qifi and his companions in Shaqra”, while @hsin_sad reported that a US drone had “burned ISIS and al-Qaeda groups” in Shaqra.

A third Twitter source, @Mukhtar03296421, indicated that a US drone had instead targeted a car next to “militias affiliated with the Yemeni government”, killing “dozens” of militants.

News sources, however, instead assigned responsibility to the UAE or UAE-backed Southern Transitional Council, with some suggesting that the strike reflected the first use of drones in the conflict by these parties.

The Yemen Press Agency reported that, according to “sources”, a drone “likely belonging to the UAE carried out two raids after midnight on Thursday, which bombed Hadi and Islah militias groups in Shakra district”, killing and wounding “several”. Likewise, Debriefer indicated that strikes “believed to be carried out by the forces of the UAE-backed southern transitional council” had injured “at least 12 government troops, including a senior officer”.

According to Right Now Times, a Yemeni military source told Sputnik that “two unidentified drones” had conducted two strikes in the area, injuring four soldiers and damaging a vehicle. According to the report, the targeted forces responded with anti-aircraft fire. The reported original Sputnik article could not be found by Airwars researchers.

Given competing ascriptions of responsibility for the alleged strike, this event has been assessed by Airwars as “contested”. At least four belligerents were reportedly injured, with a maximum of twelve. Accounting for the allegation of “several” killed and wounded, minimum reported belligerent deaths has been set at two, with a maximum of twenty-four, accounting for the report of “dozens” killed.

The incident occured around midnight.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Contested strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    None known
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Suspected attackers
    United States Armed Forces, United Arab Emirates Armed Forces
  • Suspected targets
    Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), ISIS - Yemen, Other
  • Belligerents reported killed
    2–24
  • Belligerents reported injured
    4–12

Sources (9) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (4) [ collapse]

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention strikes in the town of Shakra (شقرة), for which the generic coordinates are: 13.35663, 45.699426. Due to limited satellite imagery and information available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further.

United States Armed Forces Assessment:

  • Suspected belligerent
    United States Armed Forces
  • United States Armed Forces position on incident
    Not yet assessed

United Arab Emirates Armed Forces Assessment:

  • Suspected belligerent
    United Arab Emirates Armed Forces
  • United Arab Emirates Armed Forces position on incident
    Not yet assessed

Summary

  • Strike status
    Contested strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    None known
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Suspected attackers
    United States Armed Forces, United Arab Emirates Armed Forces
  • Suspected targets
    Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), ISIS - Yemen, Other
  • Belligerents reported killed
    2–24
  • Belligerents reported injured
    4–12

Sources (9) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USYEMTr229

Incident date

July 3, 2020

Location

قصر محافظ محافظة شبوة, Palace of the Governor of Shabwa, Shabwa, Yemen

Geolocation

14.536605, 46.830683 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Exact location (via Airwars) level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Exact location (via Airwars)

Airwars assessment

According to some local language social-media sources, a US drone strike targeted the home of Shabwa Governor Mohammed Salih Bin Adiyu in Ataq city, Shabwa, late on July 3rd 2020. Most sources, however, including local news outlets, instead reported that a fire had broken out in the building, leading to the explosion of a weapons store. No known sources gave information on casualties, and there were no known reports of civilian harm.

Social-media sources including @Mohamme19780462, @Shalal_Gaman, and @g3raan31 suggested the building was targeted as a meeting of alleged AQAP or ISIS “terrorists” took place.

News outlets, including Al-Masshad Al-Yemeni, Aden TM, and Yemen Press Agency, instead reported that a fire had broken out in the house. Local sources told Yemen Press Agency that a short-circuit had caused the fire, which had ignited ammunition and weapons stockpiles in the building, leading to “huge explosions”. These sources describe a state of panic in the local area due to these explosions.

Given disputed reporting on the origins of the fire and explosions, this event has been assessed by Airwars as “contested”.

US Central Command told Airwars that no US military strikes were conducted in Yemen during July 2020. It is, however, possible that an undeclared strike was conducted by the CIA, or as part of a clandestine US military operation.

The incident occured during the night.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Contested strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    None known
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Suspected attacker
    United States Armed Forces
  • Suspected targets
    Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), ISIS - Yemen

Sources (10) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (7) [ collapse]

  • Some social-media sources suggested that a US drone strike had targeted "terrorists" in the house of the Shabwa governor (@Mohamme19780462, July 3rd 2020)
  • News outlets, however, instead reported that a fire had broken out in the building due to an electrical fault (@Mohamme19780462, July 3rd 2020)
  • The fire reportedly led to explosions when an ammunition store was ignited (@Mohamme19780462, July 3rd 2020)
  • Explosions reportedly took place in the house of Shabwa governor, Mohammed bin Adiyu (@g3raan31, July 3rd 2020)

Geolocation notes (3) [ collapse]

Reports of the incident mention the Palace of the Governor of Shabwa (قصر محافظ محافظة شبوة) being struck, within the city of Ataq (عــتق). Using visual footage from the incident we have identified the exact location of this strike, for which the coordinates are: 14.536605, 46.830683.

  • Reports of the incident mention the Palace of the Governor of Shabwa (قصر محافظ محافظة شبوة) being struck, within the city of Ataq (عــتق). Using visual footage from the incident we have identified the exact location of this strike.

    Imagery:
    Google Earth

  • Tagged visual material from sources.

    Imagery:
    @Mohamme19780462

  • Tagged satellite imagery.

    Imagery:
    Google Earth

United States Armed Forces Assessment:

  • Suspected belligerent
    United States Armed Forces
  • United States Armed Forces position on incident
    Not yet assessed

Summary

  • Strike status
    Contested strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    None known
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Suspected attacker
    United States Armed Forces
  • Suspected targets
    Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), ISIS - Yemen

Sources (10) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USYEMTr228

Incident date

June 24, 2020

Location

وادي عبيدة, Wadi Obaida, Ma'rib, Yemen

Geolocation

15.515556, 45.395278 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Neighbourhood/area level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Neighbourhood/area

Airwars assessment

A US drone strike reportedly targeted alleged AQAP militants in the Wadi Obaida area of Marib city, in Marib governorate, on the evening of June 24th 2020, according to some sources. There were no known reports of civilian harm.

One source, @ksa2030_n, claimed that a senior AQAP leader was killed in the strike.  The Yemen Press Agency reported that the militants were targeted as they attempted to escape from fighting against Saudi-led coalition forces in Qaniyah, in nearby Bayda governorate.

US Central Command told Airwars that no US military strikes were conducted in Yemen during June 2020. It is, however, possible that an undeclared strike was conducted by the CIA, or as part of a clandestine US military operation.

The incident occured in the evening.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Likely strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    None known
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Suspected attacker
    United States Armed Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP)
  • Belligerents reported killed
    1

Sources (4) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (2) [ collapse]

Geolocation notes (1) [ collapse]

Reports of the incident mention the Wadi Obeida (وادي عبيدة) area, east 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 Wadi Obeida are: 15.515556, 45.395278.

  • Reports of the incident mention the Wadi Obeida (وادي عبيدة) area, east 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
    Not yet assessed

Summary

  • Strike status
    Likely strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    None known
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Suspected attacker
    United States Armed Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP)
  • Belligerents reported killed
    1

Sources (4) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USYEMTr227

Incident date

May 16–17, 2020

Location

زنجبار‎, Arqoub, Abyan, Yemen

Geolocation

13.468889, 45.763889 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Nearby landmark level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Nearby landmark

Airwars assessment

A US drone strike reportedly killed an alleged AQAP leadership figure in the Arqoub area of Abyan governorate, on May 16th 2020. There were no known associated reports of civilian harm.

Local sources told Yemen Press Agency that a May 16th strike had targeted AQAP leader Saad Al-Atiqi Al-Awlaki: “An American drone strike on Saturday [May 16th] targeted a senior al-Qaeda leader who was fighting with Saudi-led coalition forces in Abyan province, southern Yemen. Local sources in the province told Yemen Press Agency that US aircraft targeted the al-Qaeda leading member Saad al-Atiqi al-Awlaqi in the Aqaba area, between Laudar district in Abyan and Mokiras district in Bayda province, while [he was] participating in the fighting alongside coalition forces against the Yemeni army and popular committees in Mokiras front.”

Others, such as Aden Press, further suggested that Al-Awlaki had been killed in the strike. AQAP fighters have previously been reported to have fought alongside and integrated into pro-government militant groups.

Some, including News Yemen and Sama Press, instead indicated that the strike took place on May 17th. Witnesses told News Yemen that an “unidentified reconnaissance plane” had flown over the Arqoub mountains earlier on the 17th.

US Central Command told Airwars that no US military strikes were conducted in Yemen during May 2020. It is, however, possible that an undeclared strike was conducted by the CIA, or as part of a clandestine US military operation.

The local time of the incident is unknown.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Likely strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    None known
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Suspected attacker
    United States Armed Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP)
  • Belligerents reported killed
    1

Sources (23) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (4) [ collapse]

  • The strike reportedly targeted alleged AQAP leader Saad Al-Atiqi Al-Awlaki (Yemen Press Agency, May 17th 2020)
  • Some sources alleged that Al-Awlaki was fighting alongside pro-government forces in the area (@RIYADH_MUTAHHIR, May 17th 2020)

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention the vicinity of the Arqoub (زنجبار‎) area, for which the generic coordinates are:13.468889, 45.763889. Due to limited satellite imagery and information available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further.

United States Armed Forces Assessment:

  • Suspected belligerent
    United States Armed Forces
  • United States Armed Forces position on incident
    Not yet assessed

Original strike reports

United States Armed Forces

According to an email from CENTCOM to Airwars, there were no US military strikes during May 2020 in Yemen.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Likely strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    None known
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Suspected attacker
    United States Armed Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP)
  • Belligerents reported killed
    1

Sources (23) [ collapse]