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
Confirmed
Fair
Belligerent Assessment
Strike Status
Strike Type

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

USYEMTr184-C

Incident date

January 1, 2019

Location

وادي عبيدة, Wadi Obeida, Marib, 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

Jamal Al-Badawi, an alleged ‘legacy’ AQAP militant, was killed by a US drone strike in Marib governorate on the morning of January 1st 2019, US Central Command stated, confirming earlier reports that he had been targeted by a strike in Wadi Obeidah, Marib.

One civilian was locally reported injured in the attack – and the combatant status of the target was unclear.

“U.S. forces confirmed the results of the strike following a deliberate assessment process,” CENTCOM spokesman Captain Bill Urban noted on January 4th. Al-Badawi was reportedly one of those behind the 2000 bombing of the USS Cole in Aden harbour, though it was unclear whether he remained an active member of the militant group.

Though multiple sources including Sputnik, CNN, and Xinhua, drawing on Yemeni security and local reports, suggested that Al-Badawi was targeted as he drove a car alone, indicating that no “collateral damage” was incurred – a few did report additional casualties. Khabar Agency reported that, according to a tribal source, a soldier in the Fifth Brigade and a citizen, named as Jafri, were wounded. A security source told Al-Ain News that a drone targeted the leader Jamal al-Badawi in Marib province, killing him and two of his companions.

One source, @EsiscTeam, suggested that, instead of a drone strike, a US Special Forces raid had killed seven militants, including one linked to the USS Cole attack. This likely reflects confusion with an alleged special forces raid carried out by Shabwani forces against AQAP at around the same time.

It was later reported by the Wall Street Journal that Al-Badawi was targeted by a modified R9X Hellfire missile, intended to minimise collateral damage. The missile contains “a halo of six long blades that are stowed inside and then deploy through the skin of the missile seconds before impact to ensure that it shreds anything in its tracks”.

While most, including US Central Command, stated that the strike took place in Marib, a few initial reports instead indicated that he was killed in Bayda governorate. A security official for example told Xinhua that Al-Badawi was killed in Bayda, near an AQAP-held area in the governorate. And according to Khabar Agency, their source suggested Al-Badawi was killed in the Al Rawda area of Bayda, next to the Aseel Al-Arab restaurant.

The extent to which Al-Badawi remained involved with AQAP at the time of the strike was unclear, raising the possibility that his death constituted civilian harm. In a series of tweets, analyst Rita Katz suggested that in January 2009, then-AQAP leader Abu Basir Al-Wuhayshi said that Al-Badawi was “no longer with the organisation”. In 2007, Al-Badawi had reportedly surrendered himself to the Yemeni government, exchanging a “loose house arrest” for information on other Al Qaeda operatives. In a later article, Dr Gregory D. Johnsen stated that Al-Badawi promised to give up on terrorism as part of this, and never publicly reaffirmed his support for, or membership of, AQAP.

US Central Command, likewise, described Al-Badawi as a ‘legacy’ operative, though the exact meaning of this was also unclear.  On Twitter, Harvard law professor Jack Goldsmith wrote that, “if ‘legacy’ means ‘former,’ then the strike would raise tricky issues under domestic and int’l law”.  Bobby Chesney, a University of Texas law professor, suggested that ‘legacy’ could instead refer to ‘core’ Al-Qaeda, “as distinct from AQ franchises/splinters”.

These concerns raised the possibility that Al-Badawi was not an active belligerent at the time of the strike, potentially leading to his death being a case of civilian non-combatant harm. To account for this possibility, a 0-1 range has been set for reported civilian deaths, and a 1-7 range for militant deaths.

Al-Badawi, a Yemeni citizen reportedly aged between 50 and 58, allegedly supplied boats and explosives for the original attack on the USS Cole on October 12th 2000, which killed 17 US sailors and injured more than thirty. Though multiple sources described him as the ‘mastermind’ behind the bombing, former FBI agent Ali Soufan, lead investigator on the case, told NPR that Al-Badawi had held a mainly logistical role.

Al-Badawi was indicted by a US federal grand jury in 2003 on 50 counts of terrorism, but escaped from prison in Sana’a the same year. After being recaptured in 2004, he again escaped in 2006, before surrendering to the Yemeni government in 2007. The US State Department Rewards for Justice Program continued to offer five million dollars for information leading to his arrest, and he remained on the FBI’s Most Wanted list. Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, an alleged co-conspirator in the USS Cole bombing, reportedly remains held at Guantanamo Bay 16 years after his capture, where at the time of al-Badawi’s killing, he was still involved in the pre-trial process.

On January 6th 2019, US President Donald Trump tweeted that “Our GREAT MILITARY has delivered justice for the heroes lost and wounded in the cowardly attack on the USS Cole. We have just killed the leader of that attack, Jamal al-Badawi. Our work against al Qaeda continues. We will never stop in our fight against Radical Islamic Terrorism!”.

In its annual civilian casualty report for Congress issued in April 2019, 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 in the morning.

  • Jamal Al-Badawi 50-58 years old Possibly a non-combatant, having left AQAP killed
  • Jafri Age unknown injured

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Counter-Terrorism Action (Ground), Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    0 – 1
  • (0–1 men)
  • Civilians reported injured
    1
  • 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
    1–7
  • Belligerents reported injured
    1

Sources (80) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (18) [ collapse]

  • Jamal Al-Badawi, a "legacy" AQAP operative, was killed by a US drone strike in Marib on January 1st 2019, US Central Command confirmed (BBC, January 6th 2019)
  • Al-Badawi was reportedly one of those responsible for the October 2000 bombing of the USS Cole in Aden harbour (BBC, January 6th 2019)
  • Al-Badawi was indicted by a US grand federal jury in 2003 on over fifty counts of terrorism offences (Associated Press, January 4th 2019)
  • The bombing of the USS Cole resulted in the deaths of seventeen US military personnel (NBC News, January 4th 2019)
  • After being imprisoned in Yemen and escaping, Al-Badawi turned himself in to Yemeni authorities in 2007 (NBC News, January 4th 2019)
  • The strike was reportedly conducted with a modified Hellfire missile, carrying a payload of spinning blades (Daily Mail, December 8th 2019)
  • It was unclear whether Al-Badawi remained actively engaged with AQAP after 2007 (Aawsat, January 4th 2019)
  • CENTCOM stated that Al-Badawi was a "legacy" operative, though it was unclear what this meant. This raised the prospect that his death represented a case of civilian noncombatant harm. (@Fatinhom, January 4th 2019)
  • (Sky News, January 6th 2019)
  • Al-Badawi remained on the FBI's Most Wanted list until his death (@RitaKatz, January 4th 2019)
  • (@NBC News, January 4th 2019)
  • (@Rita_Katz, January 4th 2019)
  • (Sky News, January 6th 2019)
  • (@ben_ataf, January 4th 2019)

Geolocation notes (1) [ collapse]

Reports of the incident mention the area of Wadi Obeida (وادي عبيدة), 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 area of Wadi Obeida (وادي عبيدة), east of Mar’ib (مأرب) city.

    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.
  • 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

Jan. 7, 2019 —
U.S. Central Command has confirmed that Jamal al-Badawi was killed in a

precision strike in Marib governate, on Jan. 1.



Jamal al-Badawi was a legacy al Qaeda operative in Yemen involved in the USS

Cole bombing. U.S. forces confirmed the results of the strike following a

deliberate assessment process.



Jamal al-Badawi was indicted by a federal grand jury in 2003, charged with

50 counts of various terrorism offenses, including murder of U.S. nationals

and murder of U.S. military personnel; was wanted by the U.S. for his role

in the Oct. 12, 2000 terrorist attack against USS Cole; and was also charged

with attempting with co-conspirators to attack a U.S. Navy vessel in January

2000.



- CAPT Bill Urban, USN, USCENTCOM Spokesman



CENTCOM Media Desk

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Counter-Terrorism Action (Ground), Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    0 – 1
  • (0–1 men)
  • Civilians reported injured
    1
  • 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
    1–7
  • Belligerents reported injured
    1

Sources (80) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USYEMTr180-C

Incident date

September 18, 2018

Location

العشار, Al Ashar, Al Bayda, Yemen

Geolocation

14.499999936, 45.09999993 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Neighbourhood/area level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Neighbourhood/area

Airwars assessment

Two Yemeni National Army soldiers, including a Colonel, were reportedly killed by a US drone strike in Al Ashar, Yakla area of Bayda governorate, on the evening of September 18th 2018, according to multiple sources. Some however instead variously indicated that the strike killed two AQAP members, or two civilians.

In a later press release, US Central Command confirmed that a strike had targeted AQAP in Bayda on September 18th. Since there were no other known reported strikes at that time, this event is treated as confirmed.

Military sources told SMA News that Colonel Salem Abdullah Ahmad Al-Taysi, the commander of the second battalion of the local Radaa Brigade, and Ahmed Abbad Al-Taysi, variously described as a “companion” or “companion soldier”, were killed while travelling through the area in a car. According to several sources, including @BelqeesTV, Salmashad, and Yemeni News, the pair were reportedly on their way to meet the Chief of the General Staff in Marib governorate.

Others suggested that those killed were either civilians or AQAP members. Following the strike, a local source told Al-Masdar Online that the airstrike had killed two civilians from the Al-Taysi family as they drove in a car, reportedly on their way to Marib [note that this is the same family name as the Colonel, leaving open the possibility that his companion in the vehicle was a non combatant relative]. According to Hunaa Radaa, a local source also reported the deaths of civilians to Yemen Shabab. The original Yemen Shabab article could not however be found by Airwars.

Reprieve shared their findings on this strike with Airwars, which indicated that two members of the Al-Taysi family, also related to the Al-Ameri family previously targeted by multiple alleged US strikes, were killed while travelling to Marib. An on-the-ground investigator spoke with members of the same tribe as the victims, and saw pictures of those killed taken prior to the strike.

Two local-langage social-media sources, @akhbar and @alteef_news, instead claimed that those killed were AQAP members. AQAP forces have previously been reported to have fought alongside, and integrated into, pro-Hadi government forces.

While most suggested that the strike took place on September 18th, a few later reports suggested that it instead occurred on September 30th; this appears to reflect erroneous reporting of other sources.

It is worth noting that no US airstrikes were reported in Yemen between September 18th and November 2nd – perhaps indicative of a local partner backlash against the apparent killing of a senior commander.

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
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    1 – 2
  • (1–2 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
    2

Sources (23) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (7) [ collapse]

  • The strike reportedly targeted two men of the Al-Taysi family as they travelled to Marib (Yemeni News, September 30th 2018)
  • Multiple sources suggested that those killed in the strike were members of the Yemeni National Army, including Colonel Salem Abdullah Ahmad Al-Taysi (Salmashad, September 30th 2018)
  • The strike reportedly took place in Al-Ashar area of Yakla, Bayda governorate (@belqeesTV, September 30th 2018)

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention a vehicle being struck in the Al Ashar (العشار) area, allegedly in or around the village of Yakla (يكلاء), within the Wald Rabi (ولدربيع) district. Due to limited satellite imagery and information available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further. The generic coordinates for Yakla are: 14.499999936, 45.09999993.

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

TAMPA, Fla. – U.S. Central Command conducted two counterterrorism air strikes targeting al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula in Yemen in September, bringing the total number of air strikes to 36. In October, there were zero air strikes.

September strikes include Sept. 9 in Abyan and Sept. 18 in Al-Bayda governorates.

"Despite a decline in counterterrorism air strikes against AQAP, they continue to pose a significant threat," said Lt. Col. Earl Brown, a USCENTCOM spokesman. "We remain vigilant and will continue to work by, with and through our regional partners to disrupt, deter and destroy AQAP."

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    1 – 2
  • (1–2 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
    2

Sources (23) [ 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

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

USYEMTr163-C

Incident date

April 22–23, 2018

Location

مفقه ,الحزم, Mafqa, Al Hazma, Shabwa, Yemen

Geolocation

14.79049, 45.71084 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Neighbourhood/area level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Neighbourhood/area

Airwars assessment

Two young men, who pro-AQAP feeds indicated may have been civilians, were reportedly killed by a US drone strike in Al Hazm, in the Beihan area on the borders of Shabwa and Bayda governorates, overnight from April 22nd-23rd 2018. It was later suggested that they were instead killed by a Houthi landmine.

Local language news outlet @HdrmutAlhadath named the dead as Ammar Yasser Al-Duwail aged 22, and Abdullah Mohammed Farid, aged 30.  A local security official told Al-Masdar Online that the two “suspected” AQAP members were killed by a US drone, which targeted them as they travelled through the area on a motorcycle.

According to Dr Elisabeth Kendall, however, pro-AQAP feeds instead described them as “citizens”, not “brothers”, and suggested that they were workers at a livestock market. Some other sources were ambivalent about the status of the dead; @HdrmutAlhadath identified those killed as “youths”.

“The plane was flying at low altitude in the skies of Beihan city before it hit the two men, allegedly belonging to al-Qaeda, in one of the sandy roads in Mafqa area in west of the city”, eyewitnesses told YP Agency.

While only one source (@Dr_E_Kendall) explicitly indicated that the dead were potentially civilians, the ambivalence of other sources has led Airwars to assess the claim of civilian harm as “fair”.

A Reprieve caseworker, Baraa Shiban, later tweeted that the two were not killed by a US drone, but by a Houthi landmine planted earlier in 2018. However, a later US Central Command press release stated that an airstrike in Bayda governorate on April 23rd had targeted “an AQAP checkpoint for asserting regional control and raising illegal revenue”, which the Long War Journal was told was in Bayda. Since there were no other known reports of a US strike in either Shabwa or Bayda on April 23rd, and given that reports indicated that a strike took place in the border region, this event is treated as declared.

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 during the night.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    2
  • (2 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
    2

Sources (15) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (4) [ collapse]

  • A US drone strike reportedly killed two men in Beihan area, Shabwa/Bayda border area, overnight from April 22nd-23rd (@Dr_E_Kendall, April 23rd 2018)

Geolocation notes (1) [ collapse]

Reports of the incident mention the Mafqa (مفقه) area, west of the village of Al Hazm (الحزم), for which the generic coordinates are: 14.79049, 45.71084. Due to limited satellite imagery and information available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further.

  • Reports of the incident mention the Mafqa (مفقه) area, west of the village of Al Hazm (الحزم).

    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

TAMPA, Fla. – In the past three months, U.S. forces have targeted and disrupted the al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula terrorist network in Yemen through 17 counter-terrorism airstrikes in four separate governorates. These include six air strikes against AQAP terrorists in February, seven air strikes against AQAP terrorists in March and four airstrikes against AQAP terrorists in April.

The April airstrikes included an AQAP training camp in western Hadramawt governorate April 11 and an AQAP checkpoint for asserting regional control and raising illegal revenue in al Bayda governorate April 23.

Other air strikes took place in al Bayda, Hadramawt, Zamakh and Shabwah governorates.

U.S. Central Command is aware of reports of alleged civilian casualties following the March 29 air strike against AQAP in al Bayda governorate. A credibility assessment is being conducted.

Intelligence and defense communities have assessed AQAP as one of the terrorist groups most committed to and capable of conducting attacks in the United States. AQAP has taken advantage of ungoverned spaces in Yemen to plot, direct and inspire terror attacks against the United States, its citizens and its allies around the world.

In early 2018, senior AQAP figure Khalid Batarfi called on the group’s supporters to “rise and attack” Americans “everywhere.” Last month, Osama Bin Laden’s son Hamza, an influential al-Qaeda figure, called on aspiring terrorists to join and support AQAP’s terrorist efforts in Yemen.

The United States is committed to finding and striking AQAP’s terrorist network in Yemen.

“In coordination with the government of Yemen, U.S. forces are conducting a series of counter-terrorism operations against AQAP and ISIS-Yemen,” said Lt. Col. Earl Brown, a U.S. Central Command spokesman. “We will continue to disrupt and degrade the ability of AQAP to plan attacks, confronting threats before they reach our borders.”

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    2
  • (2 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
    2

Sources (15) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USYEMTr159-C

Incident date

March 29, 2018

Location

العقلة, Al Uqlah, Al Bayda, Yemen

Geolocation

14.040833, 45.713056 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Neighbourhood/area level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Neighbourhood/area

Airwars assessment

Four related civilians were reportedly killed, and at least one wounded, by a US drone strike against a vehicle in Al Mandhari village, in the Sama’a district of Bayda governorate, at around 2pm on March 29th 2018.

A US Defense spokesperson initially stated that four “terrorists” were killed in the strike, and that “no civilians were present and therefore none were injured or killed as a result of the strike.” A later statement, however, indicated that a credibility assessment of civilian harm allegations was underway.

According to several sources, Salem Muhammad Al-Mandhari, Muhammad Saleh Al-Mandhari, and Abdullah Saleh Al-Mandhari were killed instantly by the strike. Initial reports, from outlets including Anatolia Agency and Almawqea Post, also indicated that two additional persons, Nasser Ahmad Al-Mandhari and Adel Muhammad Al-Mandhari, had been injured in the strike. However, later reports and statements given by family members to Reprieve and the Daily Beast suggested that Nasser died of his wounds in hospital.

Adel Muhammad Al-Mandhari survived the strike, but reportedly suffered full-body burns and lost his legs and arms, according to a report by Associated Press. Some sources, such as Yemeni Press and journalist Saad Abedine (@SaadAbedine), initially suggested that a further unnamed individual was also injured.

Some initial reports had suggested that those killed were AQAP militants. A Yemeni government official told Xinhua that the targets were “practicing terrorist activities including encouraging local people to refuse the presence of government forces in the province”. One source, Al-Mashad Al-Araby, suggested that an AQAP judge and two “unaffiliated” people on the way to stand trial were killed, along with another another unidentified person.

Multiple local sources, witnesses, and family members, denied however that the dead had any affiliation with AQAP. “All people here, near and far, know that the targeted individuals have no relationship with al-Qaeda or any other group. This crime requires the strongest condemnation and is considered a dangerous precedent in targeting civilians and horrifying them which itself is terrorism,” read a local Tribal Affairs Council statement, signed by a dozen community leaders, according to the Daily Beast.

The Daily Beast report further stated that a witness of the strike, Omar Ahmed Al-Bakiri, had filed a statement with the family lawyer, indicating that he knew that the targeted individuals were civilians “because their activity and their daily routine was known to the sons of the area and they know for certain that they haven’t been involved with any armed group”. Academic Dr Elisabeth Kendall (@Dr_E_Kendall) tweeted that pro-AQAP feeds had not indicated that those killed were militants, only “Muslims”.

In a video seen by the Daily Beast, Al Haj Saleh Mohammed Saleh Al-Mandhari, the father of Muhammad and the brother of Salem, said that the former was “just a simple person”, a retired soldier who made his living working as a gas station security guard.  Abdullah Saleh Al-Mandhari was reportedly a mechanic who frequently worked in Saudi Arabia; the Daily Beast saw photographs, provided by Reprieve, of Saudi stamps in his passport. Multiple local sources, speaking with outlets including Anatolia Agency, described Salem as the former head of a local transportation union.

On May 30th 2018, Reprieve published an account by Al Haj Saleh Mohammed Saleh Al-Mandhari: “On March 29, my son and several others were driving towards the city of Al Samw’ah, in Al Bayda Governorate in Yemen, to pick up an elder to act as a witness in a land sale in a nearby village. At approximately 2 p.m., a U.S. drone opened fire on their vehicle. Three people were killed, including my son. Two others were injured. One of them later succumbed to his injuries. The U.S. military claimed responsibility for the attack. It alleged that the strike killed four terrorists. This is untrue. My son was not a member of Al Qaeda. He was a simple person, a family man. After serving in the Yemeni military, he became a night guard for a local gas station. He was a law-abiding citizen who never thought ill of the United States. In fact, he rarely thought of the U.S. at all.

“In killing [Muhammad], America has robbed three children — 1-year old Maha, 3-year old Faiz and 6-year old Ahmed — of their father. He was the only breadwinner in his family… Who will support them now?”, he said. Adel, injured in the strike, has since attempted to get compensation and an apology from the US. “I lost hope,” he told Associated Press. “Nothing is going to happen.”

In a later statement dated May 16th, CENTCOM noted: “U.S. Central Command is aware of reports of alleged civilian casualties following the March 29 air strike against AQAP in al Bayda governorate. A credibility assessment is being conducted.”

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 local time of the incident is unknown.

The victims were named as:

Family members (5)

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    4
  • (4 men)
  • Civilians reported injured
    1–2
  • 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
    3–4
  • Belligerents reported injured
    2–3

Sources (55) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (11) [ collapse]

  • The US drone strike reportedly targeted a car in the Al-Mandhari area, killing at least three (@SaadAbedine, March 29th 2018)
  • Multiple sources suggested that four civilians from the Al-Mandhari family were killed in the strike (Marsad Post, March 29th 2018)
  • Other sources, including an initial statement by the US, suggested that AQAP militants were killed in the strike (@barakish_net, March 29th 2018)
  • The men were reportedly on their way to complete a land transaction; sources suggested that three were killed instantly, one died later in hospital, and a fifth lost his legs and arm (@barakish_net, March 29th 2018)
  • An initial US statement said that four terrorists were killed by the drone strike, and that "no civilians were present". A later US statement, however, indicated that an assessment of civilian harm reports was in progress. (@SaadAbedine, March 29th 2018)
  • "All people here, near and far, know that the targeted individuals have no relationship with al-Qaeda or any other group. This crime requires the strongest condemnation and is considered a dangerous precedent in targeting civilians and horrifying them which itself is terrorism," read a local Tribal Affairs Council statement (Al-Masdar Online, March 29th 2018)
  • Muhammad was reportedly a retired soldier, who worked as a security guard at a gas station to support his family (AP, November 14th 2018)
  • "A document stating the death of Muhammed Saleh Al-Mandhari from a drone strike" (AP, November 14th 2018)

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention a vehicle being struck in the vicinity of Al Uqlah (العقلة) for which the generic coordinates are 14.040833, 45.713056. 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
    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

TAMPA, Fla. – In the past three months, U.S. forces have targeted and disrupted the al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula terrorist network in Yemen through 17 counter-terrorism airstrikes in four separate governorates. These include six air strikes against AQAP terrorists in February, seven air strikes against AQAP terrorists in March and four airstrikes against AQAP terrorists in April.

The April airstrikes included an AQAP training camp in western Hadramawt governorate April 11 and an AQAP checkpoint for asserting regional control and raising illegal revenue in al Bayda governorate April 23.

Other air strikes took place in al Bayda, Hadramawt, Zamakh and Shabwah governorates.

U.S. Central Command is aware of reports of alleged civilian casualties following the March 29 air strike against AQAP in al Bayda governorate. A credibility assessment is being conducted.

Intelligence and defense communities have assessed AQAP as one of the terrorist groups most committed to and capable of conducting attacks in the United States. AQAP has taken advantage of ungoverned spaces in Yemen to plot, direct and inspire terror attacks against the United States, its citizens and its allies around the world.

In early 2018, senior AQAP figure Khalid Batarfi called on the group’s supporters to “rise and attack” Americans “everywhere.” Last month, Osama Bin Laden’s son Hamza, an influential al-Qaeda figure, called on aspiring terrorists to join and support AQAP’s terrorist efforts in Yemen.

The United States is committed to finding and striking AQAP’s terrorist network in Yemen.

“In coordination with the government of Yemen, U.S. forces are conducting a series of counter-terrorism operations against AQAP and ISIS-Yemen,” said Lt. Col. Earl Brown, a U.S. Central Command spokesman. “We will continue to disrupt and degrade the ability of AQAP to plan attacks, confronting threats before they reach our borders.”

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    4
  • (4 men)
  • Civilians reported injured
    1–2
  • 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
    3–4
  • Belligerents reported injured
    2–3

Sources (55) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USYEMTr155-C

Incident date

March 8–9, 2018

Location

على الحدود بين مديرية خب و الشعف و مديرية العبر, At the border between Khab wa Ash Sha'f the and the Al Abr district , Hadramout/Al Jawf, Yemen

Geolocation

16.180272, 46.832936 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Neighbourhood/area level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Neighbourhood/area

Airwars assessment

Six civilians, including a teenage boy, were reportedly killed by a US drone strike while driving in the border region between Al-Jawf and Hadramout governorates, at around 3pm on March 8th 2018. The Yemeni Minister of Human Rights, Mohamed Askar, condemned the attack as “extrajudicial killings”.

A US Central Command spokesperson later told the Long War Journal that a strike had taken place in Hadramout on March 8th 2018. Since there were no other known reports of a US strike on that day, this event is treated as a declared strike.

Mwatana for Human Rights named the dead as Muhsin bin Ali Hadi Al Wahair (52 years old); Hizam Abdullah Saeed Al Wahair (40 years old); Shaji’ Abdullah Saeed Al Wahair (32 years old); Muhammad Abdullah Saeed Al Wahair (37 years old); Mahdi Saeed Abdullah Al Wahair (15 years old); and Abdullah bin Hasan Hamad Hiraidan (22 years old). All were reported to be from the Al-Wuhair family, a part of the Al-Mahashima tribe. The targeted members of the Al-Mahashima tribe were reportedly internally-displaced persons fleeing fighting in Al-Jawf, with tribespeople allegedly targeted by at least two other US strikes in early March 2018.

Local sources told both The Intercept and the Associated Press that the six casualties were civilians. No known sources suggested that those killed were militants.  Mwatana similarly found that, though those killed carried weapons, there was “no credible indication” that any were associated with any extremist militant groups.

Relatives told Mwatana that Muhammad and Muhsin were truck drivers; that Hizam and Shaji’ were resident in Saudi Arabia; and that Abdullah and Mahdi were enlisted border guards in the Yemeni government army’s First Brigade. The Intercept reported that four of those killed had previously been fighting alongside the pro-Hadi military. Mohamed Askar, writing in The Guardian, said that a government committee had collected evidence that the dead were civilians: “The Yemeni National Committee, the official body tasked with documenting abuses, employed a team of investigators to establish the facts of the missile strikes on 5 and 8 March. They interviewed locals and collected signed statements, categorically stating that none of the men killed had any ties to al-Qaida.”

Saleh Al-Wuhair, the brother of one of those killed, told Associated Press that “I saw it before my eyes… Bodies were ripped apart”. Abdullah bin Saeed Al-Wuhair, the sheikh of the tribe, told Mwatana that three of the dead were his sons, and two were his grandsons. “[W]e got none of the security that we were looking for…   All of them were killed in a horrible manner… They were good people and supported large families”, he said.

Reprieve shared their findings on this strike with Airwars. An on-the-ground investigator reported that the strike had killed six, including two brothers aged forty and thirty-three, as well as a fifty-five-year-old, a thirty-year-old, a twenty-year-old, and an eighteen-year-old.

While most indicated that six people had died, some, including Al-Masdar Online and Salmashhad, suggested that eight tribesmen had died in the strike on March 8th, naming two additional individuals: Amer Ali Muhammad al-Saqra Haridan Al-Mahashima, and Saleh Ali Al-Wuhair Al-Mahashima. However, these reports appear to have included the named alleged victims of two prior strikes in the same area (USYEMTr152-C, USYEMTr154-C) in the death toll of this event. These reports are therefore not accounted for in this event. One Twitter source, @MohammedSailan1, suggested that five tribesmen had died, including one “young man”.

A few sources, including Yemeni journalist @mareb_alward and government minister Mohamed Askar,  indicated that one of the six reportedly killed in the strike was aged thirteen or younger; it is possible that this also reflects reporting of a previous alleged child casualty on March 5th (USYEMTr152-C). An image of a child, posted by these sources, was also indicated by another source to be Amer Huraidan, reportedly killed in the earlier strike (USYEMTr152-C). Associated Press reported that a fourteen-year-old and an eighteen-year-old died in the strike, but did not name them.

A local activist told The Intercept that some members of the Al-Mahashima tribe, to which the alleged strike victims belonged, were members of AQAP. A Yemeni intelligence official, however, indicated that those members of the tribe had been killed a considerable time ago.

Sources all appeared to indicate that the strike took place in the border region between the Al Jawf and Hadramout governorates, though disagreed about the specific location.  Most sources indicated that a car was targeted in the  Al-Abr desert area, Hadramout, though eyewitnesses told Mwatana that the attack took place in  Al Khab Wal Sha’f, Al-Jawf, as those targeted travelled to Al-Abr. Though most, including Mwatana, suggested that the strike took place on March 8th, both The Intercept and Associated Press instead indicated March 9th.

A US Central Command spokesperson later told the Long War Journal that a strike had taken place in Hadramout on March 8th 2018. Since there were no other known reports of a US strike on that day, this event is treated as a declared strike. CENTCOM also  told the Bureau of Investigative Journalism that allegations of civilian harm in this strike were non-credible, due to a lack of available evidence.

“Our lives and the lives of our children and women have become in constant danger because of these repeated attacks that have killed innocents without any justification. If we keep quiet about this, these drone strikes will only continue in this manner because the Yemeni government’s abandonment of us”, Sinan Abdullah Al-Wuhair told Mwatana.

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 at approximately 3:00 pm local time.

The victims were named as:

Family members (6)

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    6
  • (1 child5 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

Sources (21) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (2) [ collapse]

  • The strike reportedly targeted a vehicle, killing all of those inside (@YemenAskar, March 9th 2018)
  • Mohamed Askar, Yemeni Minister for Human Rights, condemned the strike, and tweeted this image of a thirteen-year-old allegedly killed in the strike. However, this picture was also reported by another source to show a child killed in a previous strike on March 5th 2018. (@YemenAskar, March 9th 2018)

Geolocation notes (1) [ collapse]

Reports of the incident mention a vehicle being struck at the border between Khab wa Ash Sha’f (مديرية خب و الشعف) the and the Al Abr district (مديرية العبر).Due to limited satellite imagery and information available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further. The generic coordinates for this area are: 16.180272, 46.832936.

  • Reports of the incident mention a vehicle being struck at the border between Khab wa Ash Sha'f (مديرية خب و الشعف) the and the Al Abr district (مديرية العبر).

    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
    Insufficient evidence of civilian harm, No reason given
  • Civilian deaths conceded
    None
  • Civilian injuries conceded
    None

Civilian casualty statements

United States Armed Forces
  • Nov 5, 2020
  • Apr 29, 2019
  • A spokesperson told the Bureau of Investigative Journalism: "After a thorough review of the facts and circumstances of each civilian casualty report you provided, all four were assessed to be non-credible."

  • 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

In a major move toward transparency, US Central Command (CENTCOM) provided details to FDD’s Long War Journal on US air strikes against Al Qaeda’s branch in Yemen. Since early 2017, the military previously provided little information on the Yemen air campaign, typically providing only an aggregate number and limited detail on high-value target strikes.
In an email to LWJ, CENTCOM’s Major Josh T. Jacques disclosed the dates and locations of the last five months of strikes in Yemen. The information revealed that since the beginning of 2018, the US campaign against Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) in Yemen has focused on three governorates: Hadramout (eight strikes), Al Bayda (17), and Shabwa (three), demonstrating the eastern reach of the terrorist group.
Last year’s publicized strikes were concentrated in the central governorates of Al Bayda and Marib.
Location of US air strikes against AQAP and the Islamic State in 2018:
– Jan. 2018: Ten total strikes. The US conducted 8 strikes against AQAP in Bayda on Jan. 1, 3, 9, 12, 13, 20, 25, and 29. An additional strike against AQAP in Shabwah occurred on Jan. 26. An additional strike against the Islamic State occurred on Jan. 12 in Bayda.
– Feb. 2018: Six total strikes, all in Al Bayda governorate. Strikes occurred on Feb. 7, 11, 12, 16, and 24 (two strikes were conducted on Feb. 24).
– Mar. 2018: Seven total strikes, six of which occurred in Hadramout. Strikes occurred on Mar. 4 (two strikes), 5, 7, 8, and 13. An additional strike in Bayda occurred on March 29. [AQAP’s apparent entrenchment in eastern Yemen is concerning. In addition to the concentration of strikes in Hadramout, CENTCOM previously disclosed that AQAP operated training camps in the governorate as recently as April 2018, when they were targeted by American strikes.]
– Apr. 2018: Four total strikes, one each in Shabwah (April 26) and Al Bayda (April 23), and two in Hadramout (both on April 11).
– May 2018: One strike, in Shabwah on May 14.
– Jun. 2018: No strikes to date.
The US military has stepped up its counterterrorism campaign against al Qaeda’s branch in Yemen as well as the Islamic State since President Trump took office in 2017. Last year, the US launched 131 strikes (125 against AQAP and six against the Islamic State), nearly tripling the previous yearly high of 44 strikes in 2016.
At the current pace, the US will fall far short of that mark; there have been 28 strikes reported by CENTCOM in Yemen in the first five months of 2018.
This counterterrorism campaign has targeted AQAP’s infrastructure, including its training camps and media operations, which serve as a hub for al Qaeda’s global communications. The US has killed several mid-level AQAP leaders and media officials in its air campaign.
Despite suffering setbacks after seizing large areas of southern and central Yemen between 2015-2016, AQAP remains a persistent threat to both the embattled Yemeni government and US interests worldwide. AQAP still controls remote rural areas in Yemen and operates training camps. The group’s master bomb maker, Ibrahim al Asiri, who has engineered several bombs which have evaded airport security, remains one of the most wanted jihadists on the planet.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    6
  • (1 child5 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

Sources (21) [ collapse]