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
Contested
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

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

USYEMTr222-C

Incident date

April 11, 2020

Location

منزل الشيخ علي بن حسن بن غريب, House of Sheik Ali bin Hassan bin Gharib, Marib, Yemen

Geolocation

15.501357, 45.364845 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 sources, a US drone strike targeted alleged AQAP militants in the house of Ali Bin Hassan Bin Gharib, an Islah leader, in Shabwana, in Marib governorate in the early morning of April 11th 2020. However others suggested that a Houthi ballistic missile was responsible. While Bin Gharib was reportedly unharmed, some indicated that the strike resulted in civilian casualties, though no specific details were available.

Bin Gharib is reportedly an elder of the Obeida tribe in Marib, and local sources told Sahaftak that he was a prison official in the governorate. One source, @ahmedhashdy, alleged that he was also an AQAP leader.

Local sources told Al-Masdar Online, YPA Agency, and Sahaftak that the strike had resulted in civilian casualties, partly destroying the house and some neighbouring buildings. Given these reports, Airwars has assessed that at least two civilians were reportedly killed in the event.

Though the first known report of a strike in the area came at 3:42 AM on April 11th – from @AbduMahmoud19, reporting a Houthi ballistic missile strike – several sources, including Al-Masdar Online and Sahaftak, indicated that the strike against Bin Gharib’s house took place on the evening of that day.

Yemeni Information Minister Moammar Al-Eryani, tweeted condemnation of the strike on a “residential area in Marib”, which he attributed to “Iranian-backed Houthi militias”, while a Yemeni military social media feed also suggested that this event was one of two Houthi “ceasefire violations” in the area.

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

The incident occured around dawn.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Contested strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Artillery, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    2
  • 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
    Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP)

Sources (20) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (6) [ collapse]

  • The strike, which was variously alleged to be a US drone raid or Houthi missile attack, reportedly targeted the home of Sheikh Ali Bin Gharib (@tonytohcy, April 12th 2020)

Geolocation notes (1) [ collapse]

Reports of the incident mention a residential building within Ma’rib (مأرب). Conflicting sources claim the building to be located at several sites within a 100m area, for which the generic coordinates are: 15.501357, 45.364845. Due to limited satellite imagery and information available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further.

  • Reports of the incident mention a residential building within Ma’rib (مأرب). Conflicting sources claim the building to be located at several sites within a 100m area.

    Imagery:
    Google Earth

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 CENTCOM, there were no US military strikes during April 2020 in Yemen.

Houthi Forces Assessment:

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

Summary

  • Strike status
    Contested strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Artillery, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    2
  • 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
    Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP)

Sources (20) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USYEMTr166-C

Incident date

May 14, 2018

Location

وادي الخورة, Wadi Khora, Shabwah, 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

At least two men were reportedly killed by a US drone strike in Wadi Khora, Merkhat area of Shabwa governorate, overnight from May 14th-15th 2018. Though most sources suggested that those killed were AQAP militants, a brother of one of the dead denied to Associated Press that either were members of AQAP or ISIS.

A confirmed US strike took place in Shabwa on that date, a US Central Command spokesperson later told the Long War Journal. Since there were no other known reported strikes in Shabwa on May 14th, this event is treated as declared.

Associated Press and Twitter user @3nadoalaqi named the dead as Hussein Bakhash Al-Dayani Al-Awlaki and Abdullah Ruwais Al-Karbi Al-Ahmadi Al-Awlaki. Hussein’s brother, Khaled, told AP that neither were militants, but that his brother was a member of a militia fighting Houthi forces. “We are against those people,” Khaled said, regarding AQAP.  It was unclear whether Abdullah was also a militia member.

A May 15th tweet from Al-Masdar Online suggested that two civilians were killed in a Shabwa drone strike, though the original linked article could not be found by Airwars.  Another article from Al-Masdar from the same time indicated only that two people had been killed in the strike, whom local residents “suggested” to be AQAP members passing through the area.

Reprieve shared their findings on this strike with Airwars; a trusted source indicated to Reprieve that the strike had killed two.

Several sources, such as Yemen Shabab, Khabar Agency, and SMA News, reported that the strike had instead killed alleged or suspected AQAP militants, according to tribal and local sources. While some, including Yafa News and the Al-Masdar Online article mentioned above, indicated that two militants had been killed, most suggested that three militants had died. A security official told Xinhua that “at least four” militants had died.

The strike reportedly targeted a car with two consecutive missiles in front of the Al-Ghadeenah Dam, according to Al-Masdar Online, killing all of those inside. While most suggested that a single car was targeted, a security official and local residents told Xinhua that two vehicles were in fact destroyed. Apparent images of the strike location, however, appeared to show only one destroyed vehicle. Multiple sources, including Yemen Shabab and @egl3000, indicated that the vehicle was transporting ammunition and explosives, leading to continued explosions after the initial reported strikes.

Since AP reported that at least one of those killed was an active (if ‘friendly’) combatant, and since the circumstances of the strike appeared to indicate that he was on-duty at the time of the strike, Airwars has assessed that a minimum of one, and a maximum of two, civilians were reportedly killed. Similarly, accounting for the possibility that two were killed, neither affiliated with AQAP, but at least one a militia-member, a minimum of one combatant is assessed as being reportedly killed, with a maximum of four.

Most sources suggested that the strike took place late on March 14th, though some instead indicated early on March 15th. One local news outlet, @AlRayan_News, specified 11:05pm local time – posting its first tweet on the attack just eleven minutes later.

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 11:05 pm local time.

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
    Contested
    Competing claims of responsibility e.g. multiple belligerents, or casualties also attributed to ground forces.
  • Known attacker
    United States Armed Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP)
  • Belligerents reported killed
    1–4

Sources (50) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (9) [ collapse]

  • The strike reportedly targeted a car as it travelled by a dam in the Khora area (@AHMED1OS, May 14th 2018)
  • Sources suggested that the car was carrying weapons and ammunition, leading to prolonged explosions in the aftermath of the strike (@salmalaalge, May 14th 2018)
  • At least two men reportedly died in the strike; Xinhua suggested that two vehicles were targeted, though available alleged images and other reports indicated that one was destroyed (@egl3000, May 15th 2018)
  • Hussein Al-Dayani's brother said that he was a member of a militia fighting Houthi forces, and denied that any of those killed were affiliated with AQAP or ISIS (AP, November 14th 2018)

Geolocation notes (1) [ collapse]

Reports of the incident mention 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 the Wadi Khora (وادي الخورة) area within the Merkhat districts of Shabwa 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

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
    1 – 2
  • (1–2 men)
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Contested
    Competing claims of responsibility e.g. multiple belligerents, or casualties also attributed to ground forces.
  • Known attacker
    United States Armed Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP)
  • Belligerents reported killed
    1–4

Sources (50) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USYEMTr122-C

Incident date

November 26, 2017

Location

قيفه, Qifah, Al Bayda, Yemen

Geolocation

14.449335, 44.817596 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Neighbourhood/area level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Neighbourhood/area

Airwars assessment

Three ISIS militants were killed by a US strike in Al Bayda governorate on November 26th 2017, a US Central Command spokesperson told the Bureau of Investigative Journalism. This confirmed earlier reports that a US drone strike had taken place in Qayfa in Al Bayda governorate on that night.

However several local sources and news agencies indicated that the attack had instead killed at least three civilians.

Al-Masdar Online reported that, according to local residents, the US strike killed three civilians in the Aqaba Zaaj area of Qayfa. The dead were named as Salman Salem Al-Amri, Fadl Ali Al-Tisi and Dahan Saleh Al-Tisi, and residents denied to Al-Masdar that any were affiliated with AQAP or ISIS.

Another Twitter source, @FuadRajeh, suggested that an official had reported five children killed by an “indiscriminate” US drone strike in the Yakla area.  One other Twitter source simply reported “civilian casualties” from an American strike in Bayda.

Other sources suggested that three militants were killed in the attack, though indicated that they were affiliated with AQAP rather than ISIS.  According to AFP, three men “known for their ties to Al-Qaeda” were killed while travelling in a car in the area, named as Fadl Tissi, Han Tissi, and Sultan Amri. A local government official reportedly told Al-Arabi that “the raid targeted a car belonging to [AQAP] late Sunday night while it was passing on a secondary road in one of the areas of the province”.

A pro-AQAP channel later confirmed that the three killed were militants, according to one English-language Twitter source, @demolinari.  @demolinari also suggested that images of the dead showed one in camouflage and an ammunition vest, though the described images could not be found by Airwars.

Gulf News reported, in an article that appears to have been updated on November 28th 2017, that five civilians, “mainly farmers”, were killed in the course of “three separate air strikes” in the Qayfa area during that week. This reported civilian casualty event likely accounts for at least one of the reported strikes, alongside event USYEMTr120-C.

Gulf News reported that recent US drone strikes in the area had “displaced residents and caused panic”. “The air strikes have caused great panic among civilians,” the activist told Gulf News. “The targeted areas have no functioning schools or hospitals.”

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

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

The incident occured during the night.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    3 – 5
  • (5 children)
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Contested
    Competing claims of responsibility e.g. multiple belligerents, or casualties also attributed to ground forces.
  • Known attacker
    United States Armed Forces
  • Suspected targets
    Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), ISIS - Yemen
  • Belligerents reported killed
    3

Sources (16) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (3) [ collapse]

Geolocation notes (1) [ collapse]

Reports of the incident mention strikes within the area of Qifah (قيفه), north of Rada’a (رداع) town, for which the generic coordinates are: 14.449335, 44.817596. Due to limited satellite imagery and information available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further.

  • Reports of the incident mention strikes within the area of Qifah (قيفه), north of Rada’a (رداع) town.

    Imagery:
    Google Earth

United States Armed Forces Assessment:

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

Civilian casualty statements

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

Original strike reports

United States Armed Forces

Jess,

This is the most current CENTCOM information on strikes against AQAP and ISIS in Yemen.

· One strike against ISIS in al-Bayda Governorate, Yemen, Nov. 26. killing three terrorists.
· One strike against AQAP in Shabwah Governorate, Yemen, Nov. 25 killing seven terrorists.
· One strike against ISIS in al-Bayda Governorate, Yemen, Nov. 23, killing two terrorists.
· Two strikes against AQAP in al-Bayda Governorate, Yemen, Nov. 19-20. The strikes killed two AQAP terrorists Nov. 19 and five terrorists on Nov 20.

Let me know if you have any further questions.

MAJ Brown
CENTCOM Media Operations

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    3 – 5
  • (5 children)
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Contested
    Competing claims of responsibility e.g. multiple belligerents, or casualties also attributed to ground forces.
  • Known attacker
    United States Armed Forces
  • Suspected targets
    Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), ISIS - Yemen
  • Belligerents reported killed
    3

Sources (16) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USYEMTr096-C

Incident date

August 13, 2017

Location

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

Geolocation

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

Geolocation accuracy

Neighbourhood/area

Airwars assessment

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

However several sources, including Mwatana, insisted the victims were civilians.

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

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

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

Sources differed on the exact circumstances of the strike. Some suggested that the attack killed two men while they stood next to a water well, while others reported that a vehicle, either a car or a motorcycle, was targeted in the area. One alleged photo of the scene showed a destroyed car. According to Mwatana, the victims “were sitting under a nearby tree when the strike occurred.” Sources reported that the strike took place between 3.30pm and 4pm.

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

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

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

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

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

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

In March 2021, in its report death Falling From The Sky, the Yemeni human rights group Mwatana insisted those killed were civilian beekeepers, who looked after approximately 80 hives near the village of Mroun. The men were buried in Hosn Saiid Cemetery, about 7km from their homes. Mwatana insisted that it could find “no credible indication that either El Khodor or Ali were directly participating in hostilities with AQAP or IS-Y, or that they were associated with these groups.”

The area sheikh told the human rights group: ““I have been sheikh to this village for 17 years and I knew those boys who died in the incident. They were two of the finest youth of our village.”

The incident occured between 3:30 pm and 4:00 pm local time.

Summary

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

Sources (37) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (9) [ collapse]

  • Several sources suggested that the strike targeted a vehicle travelling in Al-Maroun, Khabr Maraqisha area (@AwdMohmmed, August 13th 2017). However Mwata's March 2021 report suggests this vehicle was not connected to this event.
  • According to several sources, two alleged militants were killed in a US drone strike on August 13th 2017 (@demolinari, August 13th 2017)
  • One of those reportedly killed, named as "Abu Aseed Al-Marqashi", reportedly pictured as an AQAP fighter in Mukalla during the "2015-16 period" (@demolinari, August 16th 2017).
  • Weapon remnants found after the attack, which a weapons expert identified as likely parts of an AGM-114 Hellfire missile. Photo taken by a Mwatana researcher.
  • Weapon remnants found after the attack, which a weapons expert identified as likely parts of an AGM-114 Hellfire missile. Photo taken by a Mwatana researcher.
  • The mattress both men were sitting on before the strike, found at the site of the August 13, 2017 strike. Photo taken by a Mwatana field researcher.
  • Debris found at the site of the August 13, 2017 strike. Photo taken by a Mwatana field researcher.
  • The tree where the two men were sitting immediately before the August 13, 2017 strike. Photo taken by a Mwatana field researcher.

Geolocation notes

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

United States Armed Forces Assessment:

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

Civilian casualty statements

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

Summary

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

Sources (37) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USYEMTr081-C

Incident date

April 30, 2017

Location

الجيف, Al Jayf, Marib, Yemen

Geolocation

15.080000, 45.275556 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Neighbourhood/area level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Neighbourhood/area

Airwars assessment

In an email to The Bureau of Investigative Journalism, US Central Command stated that a strike had targeted four “AQAP terrorists” in Marib governorate on April 29th 2017. This confirmed reports that a US drone strike had killed at least two alleged AQAP militants in Al Jayf area, Al Jubah district of Marib governorate, early on April 30th 2017.

Some sources claimed that at least two of those killed in the strike, possibly brothers, were members of the “Popular Resistance” from the Murad tribe, and were not members of AQAP.  According to later reporting on a separate incident (USYEMTr084-C) by The Intercept, a senior villager in the area said that two brothers killed in the strike “were not Al Qaeda but had been living alongside them”, raising the possibility that at least two of those killed were civilians.

The Intercept report stated that the two killed were the brothers of Murad al-Adhal, who survived a later US ground operation on May 23rd 2017 (USYEMTr084-C). According to this report, Murad left the targeted vehicle shortly before the strike took place. Dr Elisabeth Kendall, an academic, tweeted that a later AQAP statement named one of the dead brothers killed in the raid as Mohammed Sa’id Al-Adhal Al-Muradi.

A local tribesman told Nadwa Dawsari, for her report Foe Not Friend, that three members of the al-Adhal clan, part of the Murad tribe, had been recruited by AQAP, of whom one was killed in this strike. After the strike, Dawsari wrote, “tribal leaders asked the clan to take strict action against the two surviving men, giving them the option to leave AQAP or to leave the area. The leaders stated that if the men chose to remain with AQAP, their tribe would disown them. The two men reportedly decided to leave AQAP but feared that the group would target them, since it kills those who leave it after swearing allegiance. ‘If we stayed with the tribe, al-Qaeda will kill us. If we stay with al-Qaeda, the Americans will kill us,’ one reportedly said”. Both were reportedly killed by an alleged US special forces raid in May 2017 (USYEMTr084-C).

Some, including the Associated Press, reported that four people were killed in the strike, though most indicated that five had died. According to Yemenat, a local security official stated that five AQAP members were killed. Some sources suggested that one of those killed was an AQAP leader.

Several sources also reported that at least one of the dead had ties to Abdel Wahab Al-Hamayqani, an adviser to President Hadi and leader of the Salafi Rashad Party, who had sanctions imposed upon him by the US in 2013 due to alleged links to AQAP. Some suggested that his son was among the dead, while Almrasel and al Arabi reported that two of the victims were his brothers.

Most sources indicated that the strike took place at dawn on April 30th. According to al-Jazeera however, local news site Yemen Ajel had claimed that a drone had fired three consecutive missiles at 12:30am on April 30th.

Though most named the location as Marib, one source reported that the strike instead took place in Bayda governorate.  Yemenat and others indicated that the target was a car transporting weapons to Yakla, in Bayda governorate.

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

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

The incident occured at approximately 12:30 am local time.

The victims were named as:

Family members (2)

  • Mohammed Sa'id Al-Adhal Al-Muradi Adult male One of two brothers, for whom it was unclear whether they were civilian, AQAP militant, or non-AQAP militant killed
  • Brother of Mohammed Adult male Contested combatant status

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    2
  • (2 men)
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Contested
    Competing claims of responsibility e.g. multiple belligerents, or casualties also attributed to ground forces.
  • Known attacker
    United States Armed Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP)
  • Belligerents reported killed
    1–5

Sources (30) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (4) [ collapse]

  • Two civilians, reportedly brothers of the al-Adhal family, were allegedly killed in a US strike on April 30, 2017, in Marib, Yemen (@shbaabyemen, April 30th 2017)

Geolocation notes (1) [ collapse]

Reports of the incident mention a vehicle being struck within the Al Jayf (الجيف) area, for which the generic coordinates are: 15.080000, 45.275556. Due to limited satellite imagery and information available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further.

  • Reports of the incident mention a vehicle being struck within the Al Jayf (الجيف) area.

    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: 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. forces conducted two strikes against AQAP in Yemen April 29. The first strike targeted three AQAP terrorists in Shabwah Governorate and the second strike was against four AQAP terrorists in Marib Governorate.

U.S. forces are conducting a series of sustained operations in Yemen against AQAP to degrade the group's ability to coordinate external terror attack operations and limit their ability to hold territory seized from the legitimate government of Yemen and use it as safe space for terror plotting.

Since Feb. 28, the U.S. has conducted more than 80 precision strikes against AQAP militants, infrastructure, fighting positions and equipment. We'll continue to conduct operations - including strikes - against known terrorists.

AQAP is one of the terrorist groups most committed to and capable of conducting attacks in America, as assessed by the intelligence and defense communities. In recent years, AQAP has taken advantage of ungoverned spaces in Yemen to plot, direct and inspire terror attacks against America, its citizens and allies around the world.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    2
  • (2 men)
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Contested
    Competing claims of responsibility e.g. multiple belligerents, or casualties also attributed to ground forces.
  • Known attacker
    United States Armed Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP)
  • Belligerents reported killed
    1–5

Sources (30) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USYEMTr034-C

Incident date

March 4, 2017

Location

الرحبة, Al Rahba near Moujan village, Abyan, Yemen

Geolocation

13.432500, 46.478333 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Neighbourhood/area level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Neighbourhood/area

Airwars assessment

Multiple sources reported that a US drone strike killed two alleged AQAP militants travelling on a motorbike in the outskirts of Ahwar, Abyan governorate, on the evening of March 4th 2017. While there were no known initial reports of civilian harm, the Yemeni human rights group Mwatana later said that two civilian honey traders were killed in the attack.

According to Al Khabar Now, local sources reported that the strike took place in the evening, in the al-Rahba area. Reuters cited tribal sources and residents as having reported the strike, while Al-Jazeera and AFP also cited security officials.

According to Rai Al-Youm, the strike targeted the motorcycle on the road linking Khabr Maraqisha and Ahwar.  A local source told the outlet that the targeted militants were moving location in the wake of US strikes in the area over the prior days.

One Twitter source, @DonKlericuzio, tweeted on March 6th that a CIA strike in Zinjibar had killed two alleged AQAP militants. Given that no other known sources reported a unique strike at that time, and given similarities in reported location and casualties, this likely constitutes a late report of this alleged event.

This reported action took place amid a dramatic intensification of US operations against AQAP in March 2017.  A US military intelligence source told NBC News that the strikes beginning March 2nd were “part of ‘new directives’ to aggressively pursue the Dhahab and Qayfa clans”.

In March 2021, Mwatana published a comprehensive review of the case, concluding that the two victims were in fact civilian bee keepers who it named as Salem Ahmed Saleh Bileidi, 34 years old, and his nephew, Hadi Ali Ahmed Bileidi, 28 years old. It reached this conclusion after “Mwatana visited the site on May 8, 2017 and conducted in-depth interviews with five people, including four relatives of the men killed and one resident of their village. In some cases, Mwatana conducted follow-up interviews with these people to gather further information. Mwatana also collected documents related to the two men, including their death certificates, identification cards and a medical report indicating their bodies had been received at a hospital after the strike.”

The attack which killed the men reportedly took place at around 5.30pm local time, at a location on a main road about 22 kilometres from Moujan village. The bodies of the two men were taken to Al Khubar hospital, where a certificate records their deaths and that “their bodies were torn apart due to the faulty aerial bombing.”

Salem’s wife, at the time pregnant, told Mwatana: ““I was crying hysterically, and I broke down. Hadi was so thrilled with my pregnancy.” Hadi’s father (and Salem’s brother) said, “We tried more than once to make our voice heard, saying that there are no terrorists in our village and asking them [the US] to come and check… but nobody wanted to hear us. I hope that our voices will be heard. We have lost a lot and do not want to lose more.”

The incident occured at approximately 5:30 pm local time.

The victims were named as:

Family members (2)

  • Salem Ahmed Saleh Bileidi 34 years old male Uncle of Hadi killed
  • Hadi Ali Ahmed Bileidi 28 years old male Nephew of Salem killed

Summary

  • Strike status
    Likely strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    2
  • (2 men)
  • 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
    0–2

Sources (37) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (4) [ collapse]

  • Impact of the strike on the asphalt road. Photo taken by a Mwatana researcher.
  • Medical report issued on March 15, 2017 noting that the bodies of the two men were received at Al Khubar Hospital and that the men were dead on arrival and their bodies torn apart as a result of ‘faulty aerial bombing’ (via Mwatana)

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention the Al Rahba (الرحبة) area, on the outskirts of the village of Ahwar (أحور). Some sources suggest the generic coordinates for this area are: 13.432500, 46.478333. 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

Original strike reports

United States Armed Forces

Defense Department officials detected and tracked multiple missile launches out of North Korea today, four of which landed in the Sea of Japan, Pentagon spokesman Navy Capt. Jeff Davis told reporters this morning.

Explosive ordnance disposal technicians assigned to Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit 5, Platoon 501, prepare for an EOD mine-countermeasure exercise with members of a South Korean navy underwater dive team off the coast of Jinhae, South Korea, as part of exercise Foal Eagle 2017, March 3, 2017. Foal Eagle is an annual, bilateral training exercise designed to enhance the readiness of U.S. and South Korean forces and their ability to work together during a crisis. Navy Combat Camera photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Alfred A. Coffield
Explosive ordnance disposal technicians assigned to Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit 5, Platoon 501, prepare for an EOD mine-countermeasure exercise with members of a South Korean navy underwater dive team off the coast of Jinhae, South Korea, as part of exercise Foal Eagle 2017, March 3, 2017. Foal Eagle is an annual, bilateral training exercise designed to enhance the readiness of U.S. and South Korean forces and their ability to work together during a crisis. Navy Combat Camera photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Alfred A. Coffield
Davis said the four medium-range ballistic missiles were launched from the northwest corner of North Korea, traveled over the Korean Peninsula and out into the sea, totaling about 1,000 kilometers in distance, or more than 620 miles.

Missiles Land Off Japan’s Coast

The missiles landed in the vicinity of Akita Prefecture off the coast of Japan near that nation’s exclusive economic zone, he said. The EEZ is defined as a sea zone prescribed by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea over which a state has special rights regarding the exploration and use of marine resources, including energy production from water and wind.

“The North American Aerospace Defense Command detected that the missiles from North Korea did not pose a threat to North America,” Davis said. “This [North Korean missile launch] is very similar in terms of the path and the distance of the three missiles that flew into Japan’s EEZ in September 2016.”

He added, “These launches, which coincide with the start of our annual defensive exercise, Foal Eagle, with the Republic of Korea’s military, are consistent with North Korea’s long history of provocative behavior, often timed to military exercises that we do with our ally,”

The United States stands with its allies “in the face of this very serious threat and are taking steps to enhance our ability to defend against North Korea’s ballistic missiles, such as the deployment of a [Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense] battery to South Korea, which will happen as soon as feasible,” Davis said.

U.S. Strikes AQAP in Yemen

Also overnight, the United States made an airstrike on Yemen’s Abyan Governorate against al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula fighters, bringing to 40 the strikes there in the past five nights, Davis said.

Since the first airstrike against al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula in Yemen on Feb. 28, “We will continue to target [al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula] militants and facilities to disrupt the organization’s plot and protect American lives,” the captain said.

The strikes have been coordinated with and done in full partnership with the government of Yemen with the goal of denying al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula terrorists’ freedom of movement within traditional safe havens, Davis emphasized.

The captain also confirmed the deaths of three al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula operatives in March 2 and 3 airstrikes in Yemen.

Usayd al Adani, whom Davis described as a longtime al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula explosives expert and facilitator who served as the organization’s emir, was killed in a U.S. airstrike March 2 within the Abyan Governorate. Killed with him was former Naval Air Station Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, detainee Yasir al Silmi.

Killed March 3 was al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula fighter and communications intermediary for Adani, Harithah al Waqri, Davis said.

“[Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula] has taken advantage of ungoverned spaces in Yemen to plot, direct and inspire terror attacks against the United States and our allies,” he said. “And we will continue to work with the government of Yemen to defeat [al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula].

Summary

  • Strike status
    Likely strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    2
  • (2 men)
  • 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
    0–2

Sources (37) [ collapse]