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
Infrastructure

Incident Code

USYEM010-B

Incident date

March 14, 2010

Location

مودية, Moudia, Abyan, Yemen

Geolocation

13.948639, 46.202048 Note: The accuracy of this location is to District level. Continue to map

Airwars assessment

A night time precision strike reportedly carried out by the Yemeni air force or the US forces killed between two and nine militants in an air raid on a suspected terrorist training site in Abyan province on March 14, 2010.

Al-Jazeera reported “Local residents told the Reuters news agency that as many as 20 civilians may have been killed in those attacks targeting Al Qaeda.” AFP reported civilian casualties of an unknown number, adding that “some said they fled their homes in fear of being targeted by the strikes.” It is likely that the civilian casualties referred to occurred during the strikes on the following day, March 15th (assessed in USYEM011-C).

According to AFP, Jamil Nasser Abdullah al-Anbari, also known as Abi Saber al-Abyani, believed to be the leader of Al Qaeda in southern Abyan province, was one of two militants killed.

However, Critical Threats reported that three alleged Al Qaeda members were killed – the others named as Samir al Sanaani, (also known as Abu Fawwaz al-Sanaani or Amin al-Maqalih), and Ahmed Amzarba.The Long War Journal quoted the Yemeni Defense Ministry, who claimed the two Al Qaeda commanders were plotting to carry out attacks “against vital installations” inside Yemen. Gregg Carlstrom, a correspondent for The Economist, added that one of the men killed was from Saudi Arabia.

A brief statement from the Yemen government said the raids were carried out in Moudia, with an official saying that up to nine people died.

Yemeni soldiers were reportedly dispatched to the scene of this and the subsequent strike to take samples from corpses for DNA analysis. AQAP later set up a Jamil al Anbari Martyrs’ Brigade, and released an audio eulogy to the “fallen fighters”, which stated that Al-Anbari and al-Maqalih (Sanaani) was trying to connect to the net when he was killed by an air raid in the area of Jiza in Abyan province therefore reportedly confirming these deaths.

Gregg Carlstrom, a correspondent for The Economist posted on Twitter that: “Some speculation in the Yemeni press that the Abyan airstrike targeted the Southern Movement, not AQAP. Saleh’s people deny, naturally.”

The New York Times referred to this incident as “the next known American strike” without citing how this was known, adding that the strike killed “Al Qaeda operative named Jamil al-Anbari and possibly another militant” and that “on June 19, the group retaliated with a lethal attack on a government security compound in Aden that left 11 people dead and said the “brigade of the martyr Jamil al-Anbari” carried it out.”

The incident occured at approximately 10:00 pm local time.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Contested strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian harm reported
    No
  • Civilians reported killed
    0
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Suspected attackers
    US Forces, Yemeni Air Force
  • Suspected targets
    Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), Other
  • Belligerents reported killed
    2–9
  • Belligerents reported injured
    2

Sources (20) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (2) [ collapse]

  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    The aftermath of the strike (Al Motamar, March 15, 2010)
  • Explosion from the strike (Al Jazeera, March 15, 2010)

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention the Moudia (مودية) district, for which the generic coordinates are: 13.948639, 46.202048. Due to limited satellite imagery and information available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further.

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US Forces Assessment:

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

Yemeni Air Force Assessment:

  • Suspected belligerent
    Yemeni Air Force
  • Yemeni Air Force position on incident
    Not yet assessed

Summary

  • Strike status
    Contested strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian harm reported
    No
  • Civilians reported killed
    0
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Suspected attackers
    US Forces, Yemeni Air Force
  • Suspected targets
    Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), Other
  • Belligerents reported killed
    2–9
  • Belligerents reported injured
    2

Sources (20) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USYEM012-C

Incident date

May 24, 2010

Location

مَأْرِب, Marib, Yemen

Geolocation

15.329227, 45.441995 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Province/governorate level. Continue to map

Airwars assessment

Between three and six civilians died and two to three others were wounded in a botched US airstrike in Marib Province on May 24, 2010, according to local sources. In addition, between one and two militants were killed and another injured in the same incident.

Civilian victims were named as:

Jaber Ben Ali Ben Jaber al-Shabwani, male, deputy governor of Marib (dead)
Abd Al-Majid Said ‘Anij Al-Shabwani, male (dead)
Ali ‘Aziz Al-Ja’uri Al-Dhamari, male (dead)
Fahd, uncle of Jaber al-Shabwani (wounded)
Fahd Ben Saoud Ben Maj’al al-Shabwani (wounded)
Muhammed Ben Said Ben Jamil, brother of Ali Ben Said Ben Jamil who is allegedly an AQAP member (wounded)

The US strike on a convoy of vehicles in the Marib desert reportedly killed Marib Province’s deputy governor, Jaber al-Shabwani, who was a top mediator in the government effort to demilitarize members of AQAP. Al-Shabwani was in a key position to negotiate, given that his brother, Ayad, was the local AQAP leader. On May 24, multiple sources, including Front Page, reported that the deputy governor had been en route to meet Al Qaeda members to seek their surrender. Reuters reported that the strike had meant to hit a farm allegedly harboring Al Qaeda operatives Ayed al-Shabwani and Mohammed Saeed bin Jaradan. Both names have been cited by news sources as alleged intended targets.

Reports on the death toll of the incident vary.

Swiss human rights group Alkamara named three who died in the strike in an October 2013 report. Along with deputy governor al Shabwani, the researchers found Abd al Majid Said Anij al Shabwani and Ali Aziz al Jauri al Dhamari were killed. The uncle, Fahed al Shabwani, was injured, according to the report.

Reuters cited a member of the local council in Marib according to whom the pre-down strike on Jaber al-Shabwani’s car killed him and three of his companions, while also wounding two others.

Aletq reported that “Al-Shabwani was killed with four of his bodyguards on Monday night”.

Long War Journal reported that “Jaber al-Shabwani, five of his bodyguards, and two Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula operatives, including a local leader, were killed in an airstrike (…).” Shabwani was killed while meeting with Al Qaeda leader Mohammed Saeed bin Jameel at his farm, the Yemen Observer reported. Jameel, who is also known as Mohammed Saeed bin Jardane, and another al Qaeda operative were reported killed in the strike. The death of Mohammed bin Jameel was also reported by Al Jazeera. However, other sources including BBC News, RTT News and Aletq said that Jameel was only wounded and escaped.

In 2012, Project on Middle East Political Science reported that “The Marib governorate, east of Sanaa, has been wracked with chaos ever since the death of Jaber al-Shabwani, son of prominent Sheikh Ali al-Shabwani, killed by a U.S. drone strike in May 2010.”

Immediately after the strike occurred, Al Jazeera wrote that “Members of Jaber al-Shabwani tribe responded to his killing by attacking the pipeline that carries oil from Marib to Ras Isa, a terminal on the Red Sea coast.” The Nation said that tribesman also opened fire on government buildings and tried to occupy the presidential palace in Marib. “As anti-government protest began sweeping the country, Ali and his tribesmen ramped up their campaign against the government’s infrastructure. The oil pipeline was attacked several more times, and attacks against power stations began”, according to Foreign Policy and POMEPS.

While the Yemeni authorities expressed their regret at the killing of a senior official in the Marib governorate and formed a committee to investigate the incident, Marib Press reported on March 15, 2011, almost a year after the strike occurred, that tribesman once again blew up oil pipelines because the government had still not disclose the exact circumstances of the death of al-Shabwani. In July 2012, Yemen Press reported that oil export still had not resumed “because tribesmen prevented the repair of the main crude pipeline that was sabotaged last year.”

The destruction of oil pipelines led to billions of dollars lost in revenue for the Yemeni government and major fuel shortages, as reported by CS monitor and Yemen Press. Moreover, Alkamara said that the strike on al-Shabwani raised the appeal of Al Qaeda in the region. Similarly, the New York times called the May strike “a propaganda bonanza for Al Qaeda”. NYT quoted Abdul Ghani al-Eryani, a Yemeni political analyst, according to whom “the civilians deaths gave ammunition to Al Qaeda and the Salafists.” According to the NYT, “It would be 12 months before the US struck again in Yemen.

Sources are conflicted as to who is responsible for the strike. Arab News reported that “A statement from a Yemeni High Security Council source expressed sorrow for the death of Al-Shabwani and called him a martyr, but did not specify who carried out the strike or what type of aircraft was used. However, Ahmed Bin Zabaa, a member of the panel investigating the May 24 strike said that “locals blamed a US drone that has been flying in their area for several months now for the strike.” Similarly, Mareb Press reported that “Sheikh Ali bin Jaber al-Shabwani (…) was killed by a US drone aircraft (…).” US intelligence officials contacted by The Long War Journal would not comment on questions about the possible US involvement in airstrikes in Yemen, but did confirm that the US continues to provide logistical and intelligence support for Yemeni counterterrorism operations.

In late 2011 the Wall Street Journal reported that some current and former US military officials were now claiming that they were fed misleading intelligence which “may have been intended to result in Mr. Shabwani’s death.” But there was also a clear suggestion of incompetence. An official involved in the operation told the paper: “It turned out you didn’t really know who was at all those [Yemeni] meetings. JSOC, frankly, wasn’t as up to speed as they should have been.”

The Yemen government reportedly provided intelligence used in the strike but denied that it had misled the US in any way.

The incident took place in the late evening of Monday May 24th, as reported by Yemen media in the immediate aftermath. According to Alkamara the strike took place at approximately 8pm. Soon afterwards the date of May 25th was more commonly stated.

Due to the nature of both CIA and US military involvement in Yemen, and the lack of official acknowledgement by the CIA for their involvement, Airwars grades this event as “declared” due to the comments made by US government sources to media, in lieu of public reporting on CIA actions. It is unclear if US involvement in the operation was limited to providing intelligence and munitions, or also included more extensive operational actions

The incident occured in the evening.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    3 – 6
  • (3–6 men)
  • Civilians reported injured
    2–3
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Fair
    Reported by two or more credible sources, with likely or confirmed near actions by a belligerent.
  • Known attacker
    US Forces
  • Known target
    Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP)
  • Belligerents reported killed
    1–2
  • Belligerents reported injured
    0–1

Sources (103) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (1) [ collapse]

  • Tribal leader Jaber al-Shabwani (shown second from right) participating in a seminar on development in Ma’rib in March 2010, two months before he was killed in a U.S. drone strike. (Photo: Nadwa Al-Dawsari, posted by POMED)

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention Marib (مَأْرِب) province, for which the generic coordinates are: 15.329227, 45.441995. Due to limited satellite imagery and information available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further.

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US Forces Assessment:

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

Original strike reports

US Forces

In late 2011 the Wall Street Journal reported that some current and former US military officials were now claiming that they were fed misleading intelligence which “may have been intended to result in Mr. Shabwani’s death.” But there was also a clear suggestion of incompetence. An official involved in the operation told the paper: “It turned out you didn’t really know who was at all those [Yemeni] meetings. JSOC, frankly, wasn’t as up to speed as they should have been.”

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    3 – 6
  • (3–6 men)
  • Civilians reported injured
    2–3
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Fair
    Reported by two or more credible sources, with likely or confirmed near actions by a belligerent.
  • Known attacker
    US Forces
  • Known target
    Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP)
  • Belligerents reported killed
    1–2
  • Belligerents reported injured
    0–1

Sources (103) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USYEM014-B

Incident date

May 5, 2011

Location

شبوة‎, Shabwa province, Shabwa, Yemen

Geolocation

14.723675, 46.795827 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Province/governorate level. Continue to map

Airwars assessment

Two to three middle-ranking Al Qaeda affiliates were killed and another was injured due to a US drone strike, originally targeting US-born cleric Anwar al Awlaki in the province of Shabwa in the morning of May 5th, 2011.

In one of the first recorded US attack using remotely piloted drones since 2002, during Yemen’s Arab Spring uprising, an attempt was made to kill US-born cleric Anwar al Awlaki in a coordinated tripartite drone strike. Instead two AQAP-linked brothers died, identified by Yemeni government officials as Abdullah Mubarak and Mosaad Mubarak (or al Harad). Mareb Press added that “there is a third injured person, and no information is available about his health status” while @NatSecCNN tweeted that “US drone struck target in southern #Yemen in last 48 hrs, killing 3 [Al Qaeda] operatives affil’d w/ al Alwaki, US defense official says”.

ABC News featured a special investigation on the attack, stating that on the morning of May 5, ‘the US military dispatched a fearsome array of heavily armed warplanes including Marine Harrier jets, predator drones and a special operations aircraft carrying short range Griffin missiles to follow a pickup truck in which Awlaki was a passenger’. But the US troops were unable to keep missiles locked on Awlaki’s truck. One missile grazed his bumper, then, ‘the Harriers, which were almost out of gas, had to leave. The remaining aircraft tried to keep following Awlaki to take another shot. But then cloud cover got in the way. Awlaki was able to exploit a moment of hesitation while the targeting pods and the surveillance aircraft were refocusing to jump out of his pickup truck and move to another.’ Awlaki later mocked the failed attack in AQAP’s English-language jihadist magazine Inspire, saying ‘It looks as if someone was a bit angry with us this evening.’

The Wall Street Journal offered more detail on the assault, which it said consisted of two elements: According to local residents and the Yemeni security officials, the first failed strike, which included three rockets targeted a pickup truck in which Mr Awlaki and a Saudi national and suspected Al Qaeda member were traveling. It was alleged that the attack took place 20 miles away from the provincial capital of Shebwa.

Two Yemeni Mubarak brothers rushed to the location of the attack and Awlaki switched vehicles with the brothers, leaving the two Yemenis in the pickup truck that had been targeted before. A single drone then hit the pickup truck, killing the Yemenis inside. Mr. Awlaki escaped in the other vehicle along with the Saudi.’ Mr. Awlaki is considered to be at the forefront of threats the US faces by US officials, as Alwatanvoice stated.

The New York times reported that the Yemeni defence ministry described the two men as dangerous and accused them of involvement in bomb attacks. Furthermore it was stated that the two brothers were being pursued by Yemeni security forces seeking to arrest the two men.

Information on who carried out the strikes varies, as Arabnews reports that the Yemeni government claims the two men were killed by Yemeni security forces, contradicting a statement published in the Wall Street Journal that quotes a senior security official claiming that the Yemeni government provided the US authorities with crucial information on Awlakis whereabouts days before the alleged attack.

However Reuters Washington stipulated that a US official told CBS that the US hoped it was Awlaki, but further comments or confirmation were declined by the US Defense Department.

The incident occured in the morning.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Likely strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    No
  • Civilians reported killed
    0
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Suspected attacker
    US Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP)
  • Belligerents reported killed
    2–3
  • Belligerents reported injured
    1

Sources (37) [ collapse]

Geolocation notes

Reports mention that the incident took place outside the village of Jahwa, 20 miles from the Shabwa provincial capital of Ataq. Due to limited information and satellite imagery available, we were unable to locate the village. The coordinates for Shabwa province are: 14.723675, 46.795827.

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
    No
  • Civilians reported killed
    0
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Suspected attacker
    US Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP)
  • Belligerents reported killed
    2–3
  • Belligerents reported injured
    1

Sources (37) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USYEM015-C

Incident date

May 9, 2011

Location

الميراب, al Mirab, Border Ta'izz/Ibb, Yemen

Geolocation

13.710239, 44.056858 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Neighbourhood/area level. Continue to map

Airwars assessment

Ali Alkhadr (14 years old) was injured by shrapnel from an alleged US air-strike on May 9th, 2011 near the village al-Mihrab.

Al-Akhbar reported on the incident stating that the shrapnel tore Alkhadr´s jaw open when he was returning from a family visit in al-Mihrab village. It was reported that Doctors without Borders provided 1 million Yemeni Riyal ($4,660) for reconstructive surgency, for the once studious teenager.

As a result of the attack Ali dropped out of school and his father claimed that he had to hospitalise his son because of a drug overdose, as he believes his son wanted to end his life, after Ali fell into depression. Furthermore the father was quoted as saying: “He refuses to see his classmates because he is disfigured. It’s been eight months and there is nothing I can do to help my son,” said the boy’s father. “He does not want to go to school and one time I hospitalized him because he overdosed on drugs. I believe he wanted to end his life, and it pains me to see that. I don’t know what to do,” he added.

The incident involving Ali was mentioned in an article about US involvement in Yemen, indicating that this incident was carried out by the US.

The local time of the incident is unknown.

  • Ali Alkhadr 14 years old male injured

Summary

  • Strike status
    Single source claim
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Civilians reported injured
    1
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Weak
    Single source claim, though sometimes featuring significant information.
  • Suspected attacker
    US Forces

Sources (2) [ collapse]

Geolocation notes (1) [ collapse]

Reports of the incident mention the village of Al Mirab or Al Mihrab. Due to limited information available, we were unable to verify the coordinates, as several villages have the same or a similar name. There are three possible villages the reports are referring to. Their coordinates are: 13.73732, 43.72378; 14.04897, 44.13587 or 13.45457, 44.04858. The coordinates for a mid point between these villages are: 13.710239, 44.056858.

  • Imagery:
    © Google 2019

US Forces Assessment:

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

Summary

  • Strike status
    Single source claim
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Civilians reported injured
    1
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Weak
    Single source claim, though sometimes featuring significant information.
  • Suspected attacker
    US Forces

Sources (2) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USYEM013-N

Incident date

May 15–June 15, 2011

Location

أَبْيَن , Abyan province, Abyan , Yemen

Airwars assessment

An anonymous Yemen defence ministry official claimed that a significant number of US drone strikes had taken place between mid-May and mid-June 2011. Strikes began in Shabwa province from May 3 onwards. According to The National, 15 US strikes took place between June 1 and June 15, including one on June 11 in which there were no casualties. Abdullah Laqman, deputy governor of Abyan province, told the publication: ‘These are the lives of innocent people being killed. At least 130 people have been killed in the last two week by US drones.’

Airwars coded the location of these strikes as Abyan province, as the only source available, The National, quoted a source stating that 80% of the strikes concerned were in Abyan province, without further precision.

The local time of the incident is unknown.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Single source claim
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    No
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Suspected attacker
    US Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP)

Sources (1) [ collapse]

US Forces Assessment:

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

Summary

  • Strike status
    Single source claim
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    No
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Suspected attacker
    US Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP)

Sources (1) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USYEM016-C

Incident date

June 3, 2011

Location

زنجبار‎, Zinjibar, Abyan, Yemen

Geolocation

13.129059, 45.380422 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Town level. Continue to map

Airwars assessment

A US drone strike in the city of Zinjibar reportedly killed four civilians in addition to up to eight members of Al Qaeda, according to local sources, on June 3, 2011.

The New York Times reported that a US airstrike in the city of Zinjibar killed Abu Ali al Harithi, a “veteran of Abu Musab al Zarqawi’s al Qaeda in Iraq currently serving as a commander in the al Qaeda affiliated Aden Abyan Islamic Army,” and a number of other militants as well as four civilians, according to witnesses. This was the only report of civilian harm.

According to Almotamar, Abu Ali al-Harithi  was killed alongside “seven other elements [meaning AQAP].”

The New York Times reported that a jet carried out the strike. However, anonymous US officials told ABC News a US military drone ultimately fired the lethal missile but that US jets were nearby but did not release weapons.

However, an AQAP fighter named Abu al Harithi was also claimed to be killed in the first ever US drone strike on Yemen, November 3 2002 (USYEM001-B), as noted by Yemen expert Gregory Johnsen.

Nevertheless, AQAP later confirmed through Inspire magazine the deaths of al-Harithi, Ammar Abadah Nasser al Waeli, a ‘veteran’ of Afghanistan, and Abu Jafar al Adeni, stating that Wa’eli was killed “with his brother” Adeni.

Inspire provided the following details on Harithi’s death: “While fighting in Abyan, his vehicle was struck by a missile from an American drone. Nothing remained from him except small pieces of flesh scattered around. That was the death Abu Ali waited for.”

The Jamestown Foundation identified the June 3rd strike as that which killed al-Harithi and al Wa’eli. And on June 9th 2011, the Yemeni Defence Ministry announced that al Waili (also known as Waeli) and Adeni were killed “in ongoing operations by the Yemeni army against the organization in Abyan province.”

Two weeks earlier, President Obama’s chief counter terrorism adviser John Brennan had spoken by phone with Yemen’s President Saleh, where: “He affirmed the commitment of the United States to stand with the Yemeni government and people as they… combat the security threat from al-Qa’ida in the Arabian Peninsula.”

In May 2012, Newsweek reported on a JSOC operation that appears to match this event. Newsweek said: “In May 2011, the [US] military proposed killing 11 AQAP operatives at once, by far the largest request since it stepped up operations in Yemen. The Arab Spring’s turmoil had spread to the country, and al Qaeda was moving quickly to take advantage of the chaos. Gen. James Mattis, who heads U.S. Central Command, warned darkly of an emerging new terror hub in the Horn of Africa. Obama and a few of his senior advisers, however, were wary of getting dragged into an internal conflict—or fueling a backlash—by targeting people who were not focused on striking the United States. Obama and his aides reduced the target list to four people, all of whom were eliminated.”

However Daniel Klaidman reported that the decision to kill a large number of AQAP targets was not taken until 6pm Washington time on June 11th, and that “a few days later all of them were eliminated.” If correct, that indicates either that the June 3rd strike on Zinjibar occurred between June 12-15th, or that another unreported strike at that time killed a number of senior AQAP figures.

Due to the nature of both CIA and US military involvement in Yemen, and the lack of official acknowledgement by the CIA for their involvement, Airwars grades this event as “declared” due to the comments made by US government sources to media, in lieu of public reporting on CIA actions.

The local time of the incident is unknown.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    4
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Weak
    Single source claim, though sometimes featuring significant information.
  • Known attacker
    US Forces
  • Known target
    Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP)
  • Belligerents reported killed
    3–8

Sources (12) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (1) [ collapse]

  • AQAP operatives Ali Abudullah Naji al Harithi (left) and Ammar Abadah Nasser al Wa'eli, killed in a US military strike on Zinjibar, June 3rd 20117 (via Inspire)

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention the town of Zinjibar (زنجبار‎), Abyan province, for which the coordinates are: 13.129059, 45.380422. Due to limited information available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further.

US Forces Assessment:

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

Original strike reports

US Forces

However, anonymous US officials told ABC News a US military drone ultimately fired the lethal missile but that US jets were nearby but did not release weapons.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    4
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Weak
    Single source claim, though sometimes featuring significant information.
  • Known attacker
    US Forces
  • Known target
    Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP)
  • Belligerents reported killed
    3–8

Sources (12) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USYEM017-B

Incident date

June 10, 2011

Location

زنجبار‎ , Zinjibar, Abyan, Yemen

Geolocation

13.129059, 45.380422 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Town level. Continue to map

Airwars assessment

Local sources reported that “at least one top insurgent was killed in the US military-led strikes by unmanned aircraft”, which began in Zinjibar, on June 10, 2021. There were no reports of civilian harm.

While Reuters reported that airstrikes on Zinjibar stemmed from “state forces”, according to the editor of the Yemen Post, a strike on June 10th was the sixth by US drones since the May 5th attempt on Anwar al Awlaki.

Hakim Almasmari told The Bureau of Investigative Journalism that a Yemeni Ministry of Defence official had confirmed to him that 13 air force strikes claimed by the Yemeni government in the past month were actually the work of US drones: “Our aircraft fleet is very limited. Given that, and the targets being struck, and what the eye witnesses see, we have to believe what our sources on the ground are telling us.”

As the February uprising against President Saleh generated chaos in Yemen, the US appeared to be bolstering its attacks on militants. However it became increasingly difficult to disentangle reports of “drone strikes” from US or Yemeni air strikes, or other forms of combat.

CNN reported that, throughout Zinjibar, “heavy gunfire and explosions were heard… and planes were seen flying overhead and conducting airstrikes”, the fighting resulting in the deaths of at least “twenty-one al Qaeda members and 10 Yemeni soldiers’” between June 10th and 11th 2011.

The local time of the incident is unknown.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Likely strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Airstrike and/or Artillery, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    No
  • Civilians reported killed
    0
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Suspected attacker
    US Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP)
  • Belligerents reported killed
    1

Sources (4) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (2) [ collapse]

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention the town of Zinjibar (زنجبار‎), Abyan province, for which the coordinates are: 13.129059, 45.380422. Due to limited 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, Airstrike and/or Artillery, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    No
  • Civilians reported killed
    0
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Suspected attacker
    US Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP)
  • Belligerents reported killed
    1

Sources (4) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USYEM019-C

Incident date

June 18, 2011

Location

جعار, Ja'ar, Abyan, Yemen

Geolocation

13.223161, 45.305486 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Town level. Continue to map

Airwars assessment

Between five and six civilians were injured in alleged US airstrikes or drone strikes on the neighborhood of Ja’ar and possibly other locations in Abyan governorate on June 18, 2011.

Marepress reported that American planes attacked civilian areas and focused attacks on Zinjibar and Jaar. Raids were also launched by US drones in Al-Rai neighborhood. According to the report, five civilians were wounded but there were no reports of any Al Qaeda operatives injured. Hussein Al-Yafai (@crazyyafai) tweeted that “American planes injure six people in Abyan while aiming for Al Qaeda targets”. @Sada_Aden mentioned that the preacher of the Jaar Mosque “survived the assassination.”

A tweet from @alguneid specifically referenced airstrikes against the farm of “so called jihadist” Khaled A Nabi at 10am, thought they caused no damage.

No other details were able on the victims of the strikes.

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
    0
  • Civilians reported injured
    5–6
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Fair
    Reported by two or more credible sources, with likely or confirmed near actions by a belligerent.
  • Suspected attacker
    US Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP)

Sources (12) [ collapse]

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention the town of Ja’ar (جعار) in Abyan governorate. The coordinates for Ja’ar are: 13.223161, 45.305486.

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
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    0
  • Civilians reported injured
    5–6
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Fair
    Reported by two or more credible sources, with likely or confirmed near actions by a belligerent.
  • Suspected attacker
    US Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP)

Sources (12) [ collapse]