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
Weak
Belligerent Assessment
Strike Status
Strike Type

Incident Code

USYEMTr219-C

Incident date

January 27, 2020

Location

لحزمة, Al Hazma, Ma'rib, Yemen

Geolocation

15.56667, 45.38333 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Village level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Village

Airwars assessment

A US drone strike reportedly targeted an alleged AQAP site in Al Hazma village, in the Wadi Obeida area of Marib governorate, at dawn on January 27th 2020. Multiple sources suggested that at least one alleged AQAP militant had died in the strike, and one source, Mint Press News, reported that civilians near the house had been killed.  Some sources later indicated that AQAP leader Qasim al-Raymi died in this strike, one of three apparent January US actions in which he was reportedly killed.

At least one missile reportedly targeted a house where an al-Qaeda leader was staying, having rented the house in the previous week. According to Mint Press, the strike, which reportedly involved multiple munitions releases, killed “some innocent civilians” near the house, though no further details were given. Given this, Airwars has assessed that at least two civilians were reportedly killed in the strike, though this allegation has been assessed as weak based on limited reporting.

Ali Hammoud, a farmer who said that one of his relatives was killed in the strike, told Mint Press that “U.S. drones do not differentiate between civilians and al-Qaeda-linked fighters… In the end, you will be killed by plane, whether you are a civilian, or from al-Qaeda. Joining al-Qaeda is what is on my mind now.”

Tribal sources told the Al-Khabar press agency that “communications devices and computers” were found in the building, while other local language media outlets, such as Al-Ain, reported that the house contained a store of missiles and mine-making tools.  Mint Press suggested that explosives in the building continued to detonate in the aftermath of the initial explosion, and that AQAP militants cordoned off the area soon afterwards. According to Yem News, a local resident said that AQAP had been operating in the area “openly” over the prior months. A second reported airstrike on January 27th (USYEMTr220) was said to have targeted AQAP militants in the same area.

Several sources, including @alghadye, suggested that one AQAP militant, a leadership figure, had been killed. Mint Press and others named the dead militant as “Qasilah”, who had reportedly rented the house. According to Al-Khabar press, “Qasilah” had previously been “expelled by the people of the area”.

Similarly, Al-Ain reported that the renter of the house presented himself as “displaced” from central Yemen. Local sources told Al-Masdar Online that this person was named Abdullah Al-Adani, and that a man took his body away in the hours after the strike.  These sources indicated that Al-Adani was “known to be connected to AQAP”. A single social media source (@geHYX4hFs5Df0mP) reported that “a number” of militants had died in the strike.

Some, including Twitter user @AnisAbdulla1, Mint Press, and Aden Gad, indicated that AQAP leader Qasim al-Raymi, also known as Abu-Huraira al-San’ani, may also have been killed in this event, though two local sources denied to Mint Press that this was the case. Given this, Airwars has assessed that at least one alleged militant was killed in the attack, with a maximum of two, to account for reports of Al-Raymi’s death.

Throughout late January and early February 2020, numerous local-language and English-language sources reported that al-Raymi had been killed by a US strike at the end of January. These reports variously indicated that he was killed by one of two alleged strikes in Wadi Obeida, Marib, on January 25th (USYEMTr218) or January 27th; or by an alleged strike in Bayda on January 29th (USYEMTr221).

On February 2nd, Marib governor Sultan al-Arada told Asharq Al-Awsat that two strikes had taken place in Marib in the prior 10-day period, and that security authorities had been unable to identify those killed in either strike. OSINT analyst @RebeccaRambar initially reported that Al-Raymi was killed on the 27th, but later indicated that he was in fact killed in Yakla, Bayda governorate, on January 29th.

Due to the congruence of alleged strike circumstances, several reports of a strike in Marib could not be definitively tied to a particular incident. Numerous local-language news outlets, including Akhbar Al-Aan, reported only that Al-Raymi was killed in a strike against a house in Wadi Obeida, conceivably referring to either of the Marib strikes mentioned above. Similarly, the New York Times reported that two militants were killed by an undated strike in Wadi Obeida, while Al-Arabi Al-Jadeed suggested that “at least four” were killed by a strike in the same area.

One Twitter source, @goldensla, suggested on January 27th that “one of the most wanted” AQAP members in Ataq, Shabwa governorate, had rented a house in Wadi Obeida a week previously. A second tweet from the same source, on January 29th, suggested that Qasim al-Raymi had been reportedly killed in Marib after being seen in Ataq, but did not specify the date of his death. The same source reported on February 2nd that Al-Raymi had died on a farm belonging to the head of the Islah group in Marib, Mabkhoot Obood Al-Sharif.

Given that the first known reports of al-Raymi’s death emerged on January 29th, post-dating all three alleged strikes in which he was reported to have died, it was impossible to reasonably exclude the possibility that he died in any of these three reported events.

On February 6th, a White House statement confirmed that al-Raymi had been killed by a January strike, but did not specify where or when he had died.  “This was not a [Department of Defense] operation”, a US Pentagon official told Politico.  A former US official told Foreign Policy that the strike was conducted by a CIA aircraft.

US Central Command told Airwars that no US military strikes were conducted in Yemen during January 2020, effectively confirming that the strike that killed Al-Raymi was a CIA operation. This event is treated as declared to account for the admission.

Al-Raymi had been the leader of AQAP since 2015, having been a founding member of the group in 2006.  On February 23rd 2020, AQAP confirmed that al-Raymi had died, and announced Khalid Batarfi as its new leader, according to Dr Elisabeth Kendall.

The incident occured around dawn.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    2
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Weak
    Single source claim, though sometimes featuring significant information.
  • Suspected attacker
    United States Armed Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP)
  • Belligerents reported killed
    1–2

Sources (89) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (29) [ collapse]

  • The January 27th strike reportedly took place in Al-Hazmia, Wadi Obeida (@JoshuaKoontz__, January 28th 2020)
  • The January 27th strike allegedly targeted a house, which was later found to contain weapons and ammunition (@JoshuaKoontz__, January 28th 2020)
  • Qasim al-Raymi, the leader of AQAP, was alleged to have been killed in the strike (@Rita_Katz, January 30th 2020)
  • The strike was one of three alleged US actions in January which reportedly killed Al-Raymi (@NATSEC09, January 31st 2020)
  • Sources initially suggested that an unidentified AQAP leader had been killed in the strike, possibly referring to Al-Raymi (Al-Mashhad Al-Yemeni, February 2nd 2020)
  • A single source, @goldensla, suggested that Al-Raymi was killed in a farm belonging to the head of the Islah group in Marib, though it was unclear whether this referred to this strike (@goldensla, February 2nd 2020)
  • The US State Department had previously offered $10 million for information leading to Al-Raymi's capture (New York Times, January 31st 2020)
  • On February 1st, an apparently pre-recorded message from Al-Raymi claimed responsibility for the December 2019 Pensacola naval base shooting (@Dr_E_Kendall, February 1st 2020)
  • In a tweet, academic Dr Elisabeth Kendall pointed out that a February 1st video of Al-Raymi omitted "the usual "May Allah protect him"... which would have shown he's alive" (@Dr_E_Kendall, February 2nd 2020)
  • On February 23rd, AQAP confirmed the death of Al-Raymi, announcing Khalid Batarfi as his successor (@Dr_E_Kendall, February 23rd 2020)
  • Khalid Batarfi, Al-Raymi's successor as AQAP leader (@Dr_E_Kendall, February 23rd 2020)
  • Al-Raymi had been leader of AQAP since 2015, after his predecessor was killed by a US drone strike (@englishsssn, January 31st 2020)
  • In 2017, Al-Raymi said that lone shooter attacks brought him joy (Long War Journal, February 6th 2020)
  • Al-Raymi was confirmed to have been killed by the White House on February 6th 2020 (BBC Monitoring, January 31st 2020)
  • Al-Raymi (right), alongside Pensacola shooter Muhammed bin Saeed Al-Shamrani (Long War Journal, February 6th 2020)
  • Al-Raymi, born in 1978, was a founding member of AQAP (BBC Arabic, February 7th 2020)
  • (@RebeccaRambar, February 7th 2020)
  • The US Rewards for Justice page, displaying an image of Al-Raymi on January 31st 2020 (@Dr_E_Kendall)
  • (@jibalalyaman8, January 29th 2020)
  • (@RebeccaRambar, February 3rd 2020)

Geolocation notes (1) [ collapse]

Reports of the incident mention the village of Al Hazma (لحزمة), allegedly immediately north-east of the city of Ma’rib (مأرب), within the Wadi Obeida (وادي عبيدة) area. The generic coordinates for Al Hazma are: 15.56667, 45.38333. It is important to note the existence of another Al Hazma, south-east of Ma’rib city, at these coordinates: 15.44646, 45.39902. Due to limited satellite imagery and information available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further.

  • Reports of the incident mention the village of Al Hazma (لحزمة), allegedly immediately north-east of the city of Ma’rib (مأرب), within the Wadi Obeida (وادي عبيدة) area. It is important to note the existence of another Al Hazma, south-east of Ma’rib city.

    Imagery:
    Google Earth

United States Armed Forces Assessment:

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

Original strike reports

United States Armed Forces

At the direction of President Donald J. Trump, the United States conducted a counterterrorism operation in Yemen that successfully eliminated Qasim al-Rimi, a founder and the leader of al-Qa’ida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and a deputy to al-Qa’ida leader Ayman al-Zawahiri. Rimi joined al-Qa’ida in the 1990s, working in Afghanistan for Osama bin Laden. Under Rimi, AQAP committed unconscionable violence against civilians in Yemen and sought to conduct and inspire numerous attacks against the United States and our forces. His death further degrades AQAP and the global al-Qa’ida movement, and it brings us closer to eliminating the threats these groups pose to our national security. The United States, our interests, and our allies are safer as a result of his death. We will continue to protect the American people by tracking down and eliminating terrorists who seek to do us harm.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    2
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Weak
    Single source claim, though sometimes featuring significant information.
  • Suspected attacker
    United States Armed Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP)
  • Belligerents reported killed
    1–2

Sources (89) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USYEMTr214-C

Incident date

November 1, 2019

Location

ريدان بالقرب من جبل الكنائس, Raidan, in the vicinity of Jabal Al Kaneas, Ma'rib, Yemen

Geolocation

15.76963, 45.40988 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Nearby landmark level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Nearby landmark

Airwars assessment

A US drone strike reportedly killed at least two alleged AQAP militants, including a leadership figure, in Raidan village, in the Al Kanaes area of Marib governorate, on November 1st 2019. One source, @AlkaramaHR, instead appeared to suggest that those killed were civilians, unaffiliated with AQAP.

On January 2nd 2020, US Central Command told New America that no strikes had been conducted since 24th June 2019, but that an investigation was nevertheless ongoing into this alleged action. It is possible that this was instead a CIA action, or was a clandestine US military action.

The Alkarama Foundation (@AlkaramaHR), a human rights group, indicated in a tweet at the time that “two Yemenis” were killed by the strike, and condemned “extrajudicial killings”, possibly indicating that those killed were civilians.

All other known sources, however, reported that the dead were AQAP members. Local and tribal sources told Yemen Press Agency and Al-Masdar Online that Khamis bin Arfaj was killed along with his brother, Turki bin Arfaj, as they drove through the area.  These sources indicated that both were suspected AQAP.

One Twitter source, @ahmadsaeede326, shared a screen-capture of a Facebook post, which stated that Saleh Afraj was an “important leader of the National Army in Marib”, and had been killed by a US drone strike. The original Facebook source could not be found by Airwars. Given this, it is possible that one of those killed was a member of the Yemeni military.

Some local language Twitter sources, such as @ben_ataf, simply indicated that Khamis and his “companions” were killed in the strike, possibly indicating a militant death toll of at least three.  Though most reported that the strike targeted a car, @South24_net indicated that an AQAP “gathering” was bombed.

According to Al-Mashhad Al-Yemeni, Khamis bin Arfaj was a “prominent” leader in AQAP, and a close friend of Anwar Al-Awlaki prior to his death in a 2011 US drone strike. Local sources told the outlet that Khamis and Turki were both members of the Al-Marwan tribe, from Al-Jawf governorate.

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”.

The incident was first reported on November 1, 2020 at 4:00 pm by .

Summary

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

Sources (38) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (7) [ collapse]

  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    One source, @sheeq71, posted this image on November 1st 2019, which possibly shows one of those killed in the reported US drone strike (November 1st 2019).
  • A few sources indicated that the alleged militants may have been targeted amid the movement of pro-government forces in the area (sheeq71, November 1st 2019)

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention the village or area of Raidan (ريدان), allegedly in the vicinity of Jabal Al Kanaes (جبل الكنائس), in the desert north of Ma’rib (مارب) city. Due to limited satellite imagery and information available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further. The generic coordinates for Jabal Al Kaneas are: 15.76963, 45.40988.

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

On January 2, in response to an email inquiry, CENTCOM reiterated June 24th as the last CENTCOM strike in Yemen and said an investigation is ongoing into an alleged 11/1 strike reported by Xinhua

Summary

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

Sources (38) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USYEMTr177-C

Incident date

August 1, 2018

Location

الروضة, Al Rawda, Marib, 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

A US drone strike reportedly targeted a house in the Al Rawda area of Marib governorate on August 1st 2018, killing four and wounding others.

One source, The Yemen, indicating that those killed were civilians: “Today, Wednesday, local sources said that four civilians were killed and others wounded, following a US air strike on a drone that targeted them in the Rawdah neighborhood, south of Ma’rib Governorate. The sources pointed out that a drone strike hit a house in the neighborhood of Rawda, south of the city of Marib, killing four people and wounding others.”

Other sources suggested that the house was inhabited by AQAP militants.

The reports bore a resemblance to those of another alleged strike in the same area on July 22nd (USYEMTr174-C), and may possibly reflect late reporting of that earlier event.

On August 30th 2018, US Central Command stated that “six counterterrorism air strikes” against AQAP had been conducted since May 16th 2018, in “Shabwah, Hadramawt and Al-Bayda governorates”. The declared strikes did not include an August 1st strike; it is possible that this event constituted an undeclared CIA strike.

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″.

The local time of the incident is unknown.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Likely strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    4
  • Civilians reported injured
    2
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Weak
    Single source claim, though sometimes featuring significant information.
  • Suspected attacker
    United States Armed Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP)
  • Belligerents reported killed
    4
  • Belligerents reported injured
    2

Sources (7) [ 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
  • 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.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Likely strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    4
  • Civilians reported injured
    2
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Weak
    Single source claim, though sometimes featuring significant information.
  • Suspected attacker
    United States Armed Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP)
  • Belligerents reported killed
    4
  • Belligerents reported injured
    2

Sources (7) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USYEMTr165-C

Incident date

May 1–14, 2018

Location

شبوة, Shabwa, Yemen

Geolocation

14.695997, 46.957239 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Province/governorate level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Province/governorate

Airwars assessment

An investigator indicated to the UK legal charity Reprieve that two men were killed by a US strike in Shabwa during early May 2018. No other known sources reported the strike. Reprieve shared its information on this reported strike with Airwars.

According to the investigator, both men were mediating a tribal dispute in the area at the time, and were targeted by a strike as they went for lunch with one of the tribes, having reached a temporary settlement.

According to Reprieve’s field notes: “their vehicle was hit on their way to the lunch. We never received the names or details of those killed. The US does not appear to have specifically acknowledged this strike.”

No further details are presently known.

The incident occured around midday.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Single source claim
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    2
  • (2 men)
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Weak
    Single source claim, though sometimes featuring significant information.
  • Suspected attacker
    United States Armed Forces
  • Suspected target
    Unknown

Sources (1) [ collapse]

Geolocation notes (1) [ collapse]

Reports of the incident mention the governorate of Shabwa (شبوة), for which the generic coordinates are: 14.695997, 46.957239. Due to limited satellite imagery and information available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further.

  • Reports of the incident mention the governorate of Shabwa (شبوة).

    Imagery:
    Google Earth

United States Armed Forces Assessment:

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

Summary

  • Strike status
    Single source claim
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    2
  • (2 men)
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Weak
    Single source claim, though sometimes featuring significant information.
  • Suspected attacker
    United States Armed Forces
  • Suspected target
    Unknown

Sources (1) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USYEMTr146-C

Incident date

February 12, 2018

Location

البيضاء, Al Bayda, Yemen

Geolocation

14.313489, 45.305892 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Province/governorate level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Province/governorate

Airwars assessment

A US strike took place in Bayda governorate against an unspecified target on February 12th 2018, a US Central Command spokesperson later told the Long War Journal.

One source at the time of the attack, Yemen Monitor, claimed: “American drones launched more than once raids targeting sites of the Popular Resistance in Al Bayda Governorate, central Yemen, which resulted in deaths and injuries of resistance elements, in addition to civilian casualties.” Though generic, these reported civilian casualties are accounted for in this event.

Two other local-language social media sources, @egl3000 and @khmaf666, reported on the morning of February 13th that a US strike had killed seven. The former indicated that the dead were pro-government soldiers, including one officer; while the latter instead indicated that they were ISIS fighters. It is possible that these sources referred to a distinct reported strike, USYEMTr145.

To account for these claims, Airwars has assessed that at least two civilians were reportedly killed in the strike, accounting for the description of plural casualties, though this claim has been assessed as ‘Weak’. Seven reported belligerent casualties are recorded, as well as at least two wounded, though it was unclear whether those recorded were soldiers or non-state forces.

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.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    2
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Weak
    Single source claim, though sometimes featuring significant information.
  • Known attacker
    United States Armed Forces
  • Suspected targets
    ISIS - Yemen, Other
  • Belligerents reported killed
    7
  • Belligerents reported injured
    2

Sources (7) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (2) [ collapse]

Geolocation notes (1) [ collapse]

Reports of the incident mention the Al Bayda (البيضاء) governorate. Due to limited satellite imagery and information available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further. The generic coordinates for Al Bayda governorate are: 14.313489, 45.305892.

  • Reports of the incident mention the Al Bayda (البيضاء) governorate.

    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
  • May 2, 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: 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
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    2
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Weak
    Single source claim, though sometimes featuring significant information.
  • Known attacker
    United States Armed Forces
  • Suspected targets
    ISIS - Yemen, Other
  • Belligerents reported killed
    7
  • Belligerents reported injured
    2

Sources (7) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USYEMTr116-C

Incident date

November 12, 2017

Location

وادي الحيات, Wadi Al Hayat, Al Bayda, Yemen

Geolocation

14.529359983, 44.855200999 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Neighbourhood/area level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Neighbourhood/area

Airwars assessment

A US Central Command spokesperson told reporters that a strike had killed two alleged ISIS militants in Bayda governorate on November 12th 2017. This confirmed earlier reports that a US drone strike in the Dhi Kalib area of Qayfa had killed two at noon on that date. Two sources suggested that one of those killed in the strike was a civilian.

According to Yemen Shabab Net, the strike killed civilian Ahmed Muhammad Ahmed al-Azraq Abu Sureima, who “happened to be in the area” when a drone targeted and killed an ISIS militant in Wadi Al Hayat, north of Dhi Kalb. Aden News also reported this, though the article quoted a “media source”, and appeared to be derivative of the Yemen Shabab report. Given this, the allegation of civilian harm has been assessed by Airwars as “weak”.

One Twitter source, @demolinari, suggested that the strike targeted a car near Dhi Kalb village, killing two “suspected ISIS militants”. Other sources simply reported that two were killed in the strike, without providing further information.

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 around midday.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    1
  • (1 man)
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Weak
    Single source claim, though sometimes featuring significant information.
  • Known attacker
    United States Armed Forces
  • Suspected target
    ISIS - Yemen
  • Belligerents reported killed
    1–2

Sources (9) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (3) [ collapse]

  • According to one source, Yemen Shabab Net, the US strike killed one alleged ISIS militant and one nearby civilian near Dhi Kalb. Other sources, and CENTCOM, suggested that both of those killed were ISIS militants (@demolinari, November 13th 2017)

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention Wadi Al Hayat (وادي الحيات), allegedly north of Dhi Kalib (ذي كالب) village, in the Al Quraishyah (القريشيه) district. Due to limited satellite imagery and information available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further. The generic coordinates for Dhi Kalib are: 14.529359983, 44.855200999.

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

We conducted three strikes against ISIS in al-Bayda Governorate, Yemen Nov. 10-12.
· 10 Nov – 1 strike – 2 EKIA
· 11 Nov – 1 strike – 1 EKIA
· 12 Nov – 1 strike – 2 EKIA

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    1
  • (1 man)
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Weak
    Single source claim, though sometimes featuring significant information.
  • Known attacker
    United States Armed Forces
  • Suspected target
    ISIS - Yemen
  • Belligerents reported killed
    1–2

Sources (9) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USYEMTr096-C

Incident date

August 13, 2017

Location

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

Geolocation

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

Geolocation accuracy

Neighbourhood/area

Airwars assessment

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The incident occured at 4:00 pm local time.

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

Summary

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

Sources (36) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (4) [ collapse]

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

Geolocation notes

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

United States Armed Forces Assessment:

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

Civilian casualty statements

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

Summary

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

Sources (36) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USYEMTr040-C

Incident date

March 5, 2017

Location

جبل نوفان, Jabal Novan, Bayda, Yemen

Geolocation

14.493551, 44.760258 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Village level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Village

Airwars assessment

Multiple sources reported that US drone strikes targeted alleged AQAP militant positions in Novan, in the Qaifa area of Bayda governorate, on the evening of March 5th. There was one known report of possible civilian injury due to the strike.

Local language Twitter sources reported that airstrikes targeted AQAP militants in the Novan mountains. The timing of local reports suggested that the strikes took place around 10.30pm local time.

According to Reuters, an airstrike hit the “home of a suspected al Qaeda member in the village of Noufan”. According to Elwatan News, local sources said that only civilians were wounded in the course of both this strike and a second overnight attack on al-Saeed, Shabwa. Though it was unclear which specific strike(s) resulted in civilian injury, the claim has been accounted for in this event.  A minimum of two civilian injuries has been set, and the claim assessed as “weak”.

This reported event took place amid a dramatic intensification of US operations against AQAP in March 2017. On March 6th, Pentagon spokesman Captain Jeff Davis announced that forty strikes had been conducted in Yemen over the previous five nights. A day earlier, AFP reported that AQAP militants had begun to withdraw from several areas in response to US attacks.

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 10:30 pm local time.

Summary

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

Sources (14) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (2) [ collapse]

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention the village of Jabal Novan (جبل نوفان), north from the town of Rada’a (رداع), within the Qifah (قيفه) district, for which the coordinates are: 14.493551, 44.760258. 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
    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

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
    Unknown
  • Civilians reported injured
    2
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Weak
    Single source claim, though sometimes featuring significant information.
  • Suspected attacker
    United States Armed Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP)

Sources (14) [ collapse]