US Forces in Yemen

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
Civilian Harm Status
Belligerent Assessment
Declassified Documents
Strike Status
Strike Type

Incident Code

USYEMBi004-C

Incident date

November 13, 2021

Location

عقبة امقوة, Aqba Amkawa, Shabwa, Yemen

Airwars assessment

At least one civilian was killed and another civilian, a woman, was injured in alleged Saudi Coalition or US drone strikes on the Olaya Markha district of Shabwa governorate. Sources were conflicted about whether the other two to three people killed and two to three people wounded were civilians or members of Al Qaeda.

A Facebook post by Mohammed Al Yamani provided information that four civilians were killed and two others were injured in a Saudi Coalition airstrike on a car in the Olaya Markha district of Shabwa governorate.

A local source told “Al-Harf 28” that an unidentified aircraft struck a car in the “Amquh” area of Markah Olaya district and that the preliminary numbers indicate that three “citizens” were killed and two others were injured, all of whom belong to the “Al Mursas” tribe. News Yemen also put the number of people killed at three but reported that three other people were wounded.

A Facebook post from Ali Al Nasi identified the car as bringing to Ali bin Alawi Al Rasas and that the raid led to “the injury of the son of the owner of the car, Ahmed bin Ali”. They stated that the fate of the rest of the passengers in the car was unknown but later identified two people as being injured, adding that the targeted people are well known for their stance against ISIS.

A post from Saif Al Mahjari provided more information on the victims: in the first strike, two people were seriously injured – Ahmed Ali bin Alawi and bin Muthbi. While the wounded were being helped, there was another bombing, and this bombing killed three people – Hussein bin Ali bin Ahmed, Ibn Dahmash and Ibn Sawad, who were said to be brothers. A post from Abdualkarem Saleh Alrasas also provided similar names of people killed – Hussein bin Ali bin Hamad Al-Rasas, Ibrahim Dahmash Alawi Al-Rasas, Hussein Mohammed Al-Rasas.

Xinhua News reported that three people believed to be affiliated with Al Qaeda were killed in US drone strikes that targeted a car carrying six people, wounding the three other passengers. X99 News quoted a security official, who said that the strikes occurred after noon in front of a US military base and resulted in the death of two gunmen associated with Al Qaeda and a civilians. They also identified two separate strikes as occurring but didn’t specify which casualties occurred during which strikes.

A local government official clarified to AFP what occurred in the two separate strikes: “A drone that is believed to be American targeted a car carrying a man, who is likely an Al-Qaeda member, and his wife, resulting in the injury of both,” a government official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told AFP. “Three people, a civilian and two suspected Al-Qaeda gunmen, who were in a vehicle that was heading to the site to assist the wounded were targeted in another strike and killed.” A second government official in the border region between the central provinces of Shabwa and Al-Bayda confirmed the two strikes and death toll.

On January 20, 2022, the director of SITE Intelligence Group said that Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) has announced the death of a military commander/former Bin Laden associate Salih bin Salim bin Ubayd ’Abolan (AKA Abu ‘Umayr al-Hadhrami) in US airstrike in Yemen. However, the announcement did not mention when or where his death occurred but @Rita_Katz associated it with this incident that occurred on November 14th, 2021.

Sources were conflicted as to who was responsible for the strikes or were not able to identify who carried them out. The majority of sources attribute the strikes to the Saudi Coalition. However, the Yemeni Press identified the “US-Saudi aggression” as responsible and Xinhua News blamed US drones for the strikes.

In an email to Airwars on November 18th, the US military denied carrying out any attack, noting that “CENTCOM conducted its last counterterror strike in Yemen on June 24, 2019. CENTCOM has not conducted any new counterterror strikes in Yemen since.”

This does not however preclude actions by the CIA – which is known to have conducted at least three strikes in Yemen since that date.

The incident occured during the night.

The victims were named as:

Family members (2)

  • Ahmed Ali bin Alawi male Conflicted as to whether he was a civilian or Al Qaeda member injured
  • bin Muthbi female Possibly the wife or other family member of Ahmed injured

Family members (3)

  •  Hussein bin Ali bin Hamad Al-Rasas male Conflicted as to whether he was a civilian or Al Qaeda member killed
  •  Ibrahim Dahmash Alawi Al-Rasas male Conflicted as to whether he was a civilian or Al Qaeda member killed
  • Hussein Mohammed Al-Rasas male Conflicted as to whether he was a civilian or Al Qaeda member killed

Summary

  • Strike status
    Contested strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    1 – 4
  • (1–3 men)
  • Civilians reported injured
    1–3
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Contested
    Competing claims of responsibility e.g. multiple belligerents, or casualties also attributed to ground forces.
  • Suspected attackers
    Saudi-led Coalition, US Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP)
  • Belligerents reported killed
    1–4
  • Belligerents reported injured
    0–2

Sources (42) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (3) [ collapse]

  • Map of incidents in Yemen
  • Map of the possible location of the strikes in Yemen on November 13, 2021. (Image posted by Giopioneer)
  • BREAKING: AQAP announces death of military commander/former Bin Laden associate Salih bin Salim bin Ubayd ’Abolan (AKA Abu 'Umayr al-Hadhrami) in US airstrike in Yemen. Strange that group did not specify date/location. Reports show US airstrike killed 3 AQAP militants on Nov. 14. (Image posted by @Rita_Katz)

Saudi-led Coalition Assessment:

  • Suspected belligerent
    Saudi-led Coalition
  • Saudi-led Coalition position on incident
    Not yet assessed

US Forces Assessment:

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

Summary

  • Strike status
    Contested strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    1 – 4
  • (1–3 men)
  • Civilians reported injured
    1–3
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Contested
    Competing claims of responsibility e.g. multiple belligerents, or casualties also attributed to ground forces.
  • Suspected attackers
    Saudi-led Coalition, US Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP)
  • Belligerents reported killed
    1–4
  • Belligerents reported injured
    0–2

Sources (42) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USYEMBi003

Incident date

November 13, 2021

Location

حدبى ال عوشان, Hadba Al Aushan, Shabwa, Yemen

Geolocation

15.546025, 45.466297 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Neighbourhood/area level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Neighbourhood/area

Airwars assessment

At least one person, identified as an Al-Qaeda affiliate, was killed in alleged US drone strikes on the Al-Hadba area in the Wadi Marib district of Yemen the afternoon of November 13, 2021.

A post from Hudhud Sabaa news alleged that a US drone strike targeted an Al-Qaeda affiliate from Al-Dhalea’s Al-Dhalea district in Hadbaa Al-Aushan. A tweet from @BdylJbrann identified the drone strike as killing one person but did not mention whether they were a militant or not.

A post from Maareb Al Izz also identified one person as being killed by US drones and added that he was killed instantly from the strikes.

In an email to Airwars on November 18th, the US military denied carrying out any attack, noting that “CENTCOM conducted its last counterterror strike in Yemen on June 24, 2019. CENTCOM has not conducted any new counterterror strikes in Yemen since.”

This does not however preclude actions by the CIA – which is known to have conducted at least three strikes in Yemen since that date.

The incident occured in the afternoon.

Summary

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

Sources (7) [ collapse]

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention the Al Hadba Aushan (حدبى ال عوشان) area, for which the generic coordinates are: 15.546025, 45.466297. Due to limited satellite imagery and information available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further.

US Forces Assessment:

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

Summary

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

Sources (7) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USYEMBi002

Incident date

August 24, 2021

Location

Yemen

Airwars assessment

Two alleged members of Al Qaeda were killed in US airstrikes in Yemen sometime before August 24, 2021.

According to a Facebook post from Mushir Al Mashrai, Al-Qaeda organization in Yemen mourned Rashid Al-Ghazali and his brother Abu Asim, who said that they were killed in an American raid.

A tweet from @GhalebM0nz1i7 reported that the death of the brothers was announced on Al-Malahim website, affiliated with Al-Qaeda terrorist organization in Yemen, and attributed their deaths to airstrikes from US warplanes.

While the death of the brothers was announced on August 24th, it is unclear when the strikes took place and/or when the brothers died.

In an email to Airwars on November 18th, the US military denied carrying out any recent attacks in Yemen, noting that “CENTCOM conducted its last counterterror strike in Yemen on June 24, 2019. CENTCOM has not conducted any new counterterror strikes in Yemen since.”

This does not however preclude actions by the CIA – which is known to have conducted at least three strikes in Yemen since June 2019.

The local time of the incident is unknown.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Likely strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian harm reported
    None known
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Suspected attacker
    US Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP)
  • Belligerents reported killed
    2

Sources (5) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (1) [ collapse]

  • Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) has announced the deaths of "Rashid al-Ghazali" and "Abu Asim" who were allegedly "martyred by the American Crusaders." (Image posted by @IntelTweet)

US Forces Assessment:

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

Summary

  • Strike status
    Likely strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian harm reported
    None known
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Suspected attacker
    US Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP)
  • Belligerents reported killed
    2

Sources (5) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USYEMBi001-C

Incident date

March 16, 2021

Location

حي جو النسيم, Jao Al Naseem, Marib, Yemen

Geolocation

15.480000, 45.349444 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Village level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Village

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 possible moratorium on US strikes in Yemen by the Biden Administration may also have been in operation since January 20th 2021.

In an email to Airwars on November 18th, the US military denied carrying out any recent attacks, noting that “CENTCOM conducted its last counterterror strike in Yemen on June 24, 2019. CENTCOM has not conducted any new counterterror strikes in Yemen since.”

This does not however preclude actions by the CIA – which is known to have conducted at least three strikes in Yemen since June 2019.

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
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Contested
    Competing claims of responsibility e.g. multiple belligerents, or casualties also attributed to ground forces.
  • Suspected attackers
    US Forces, Houthi Forces
  • Suspected target
    Unknown
  • Belligerents reported killed
    2

Sources (10) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (1) [ collapse]

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention a vehicle being struck in Joe Al Naseem (جو النسيم) village, for which the generic coordinates are: 15.480000, 45.349444. Due to limited satellite imagery and information available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further.

US Forces Assessment:

  • Suspected belligerent
    US Forces
  • US 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
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Contested
    Competing claims of responsibility e.g. multiple belligerents, or casualties also attributed to ground forces.
  • Suspected attackers
    US Forces, Houthi Forces
  • Suspected target
    Unknown
  • Belligerents reported killed
    2

Sources (10) [ collapse]