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
Belligerent Assessment
Strike Status
Strike Type

Incident Code

USYEMTr009

Incident date

February 2, 2017

Location

الخبر, Al Khabr, Abyan, Yemen

Geolocation

13.434370, 46.166439 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Town level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Town

Airwars assessment

Several sources alleged that US battleships bombarded the area of Al Khabr in al-Maraqisha, Abyan governorate, on February 2nd 2017, where AQAP militants were allegedly based. There were no reported civilian or combatant casualties.

One anonymous Yemeni government official, speaking to Reuters, said that “ships fired several missiles towards the al-Maraqisha mountains, where al Qaeda elements are based. The ships are widely believed to be Americans.  We have received no information on the outcome of the shelling”.

According to the Washington Times, “government officials” told the Associated Press that the area had been shelled by US warships for five consecutive days, though no further sources corroborated this claim, except for some local language reports of US naval shelling on February 1st.  Sky News Arabic reported that “local sources” had alleged US naval strikes in the area.  According to Reuters, the “al-Maraqisha mountains are a key al-Qaeda stronghold in Southern Yemen”, after militants were driven there when Zinjibar and Jaar fell to Yemeni government forces in 2016.

US Pentagon spokesperson Captain Jeff Davies denied US involvement in the naval shelling, Reuters reported.  One source indicated that tribal sheikh Faisal Mohammed Baleedi also denied any bombing in the region, while Al Mushahid reported that an anonymous “security source” had additionally denied that shelling was taking place.

The incident occured in the morning.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Likely strike
  • Strike type
    Naval bombardment
  • Civilian harm reported
    None known
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Suspected attacker
    United States Armed Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP)

Sources (9) [ collapse]

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention the town of Al Khabr (الخبر), south of Al Maraqisha mountains (جبال المراقشة). 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: 13.434370, 46.166439.

United States Armed Forces Assessment:

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

Summary

  • Strike status
    Likely strike
  • Strike type
    Naval bombardment
  • Civilian harm reported
    None known
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Suspected attacker
    United States Armed Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP)

Sources (9) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USYEMTr010

Incident date

February 28, 2017

Location

مديرية الصومعة, Al Suma'a District, Bayda, Yemen

Geolocation

14.166667, 45.831111 Note: The accuracy of this location is to District level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

District

Airwars assessment

The Pentagon announced on March 6th 2017 that it had conducted an airstrike against AQAP in Yemen on February 28th, though no other sources could be found to verify this.  This appeared to have been the first action of a serious intensification of US strikes in Yemen through the first week of March 2017.

Two local language Twitter sources did however note on February 28th that air strikes against AQAP in Al Suma’a, Bayda province had increased in frequency, and noted the killing of seven “terrorists”.  It was unclear whether this reflected a long term death toll of strikes in the area, or casualties of a specific strike on that day.  The content of both sources was the same, indicating that one was repeating the other, or both were repeating a third unavailable source.

The local time of the incident is unknown.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian harm reported
    None known
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Known attacker
    United States Armed Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP)

Sources (3) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (1) [ collapse]

Geolocation notes (1) [ collapse]

Reports of the incident mention the Al Suma’a district (مديرية الصومعة) for which the generic coordinates are: 14.166667, 45.831111. Due to limited satellite imagery and information available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further.

  • Reports of the incident mention the Al Suma’a district (مديرية الصومعة).

    Imagery:
    Google Earth

United States Armed Forces Assessment:

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

Original strike reports

United States Armed Forces

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

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

Missiles Land Off Japan’s Coast

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

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

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

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

U.S. Strikes AQAP in Yemen

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian harm reported
    None known
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Known attacker
    United States Armed Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP)

Sources (3) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USYEMTr022

Incident date

March 1–2, 2017

Location

جسيمة, Jasima, Bayda', Yemen

Geolocation

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

Geolocation accuracy

Neighbourhood/area

Airwars assessment

Multiple sources reported that US airstrikes targeted alleged AQAP militants in al-Jasima, in the Qaifa area of Bayda governorate, overnight from March 1st to March 2nd. Mareb Press reported that the strikes killed one and wounded another, apparently with reference to alleged militants. There were no known reports of civilian casualties.

The reported strikes were allegedly conducted in conjunction with other strikes in the Qaifa area, in Yakla and Jabal Novan.  According to local sources allegedly spoken with by Al Mawqea Post, US strikes in the Qaifa area continued from 4am until 7am, across many areas held by AQAP forces. These sources also reported that five AQAP members were killed and two were injured during the Qaifa strikes, naming the casualties as “Abu al-Muhajir al-Abi, Musab al-Ryashi, Hamza al-Hadrami, Abu Turab al-Hadrami, and Dujana al-Sanani”.  It was unclear which of these individuals, if any, were the same as the militant allegedly killed in al-Jassima.

This reported action took place amid a dramatic intensification of US operations against AQAP. On March 2nd, Pentagon spokesman Captain Jeff Davies announced “more than 20 strikes targeted AQAP militants, equipment and infrastructure in the Yemeni governorates of Abyan, Al Bayda and Shabwah” early that morning.  On March 3rd, the Associated Press reported that Yemeni officials and residents said that the US had conducted “dozens of airstrikes on al-Qaida targets in Yemen overnight and in the past 48 hours in one of the lengthiest, sustained operations inside this conflict-torn Arab country”.

A US military intelligence source told NBC News that the strikes were “part of ‘new directives’ to aggressively pursue the Dhahab and Qayfa clans”. Estimates of the total death toll on March 2nd varied; on March 3rd, Reuters reported that Thursday’s strikes left “at least nine” dead, while officials speaking with the Associated Press said that seven alleged militants had been killed.  Oman Daily reported that 12 “suspected al-Qaeda members in Yemen” had been killed on March 2nd.

The incident occured during the night.

Summary

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

Sources (12) [ collapse]

Geolocation notes (1) [ collapse]

Reports of the incident mention the village of Jasima (جسيمة), allegedly within the Qifah (قيفه) district, for which, due to limited satellite imagery and information available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further. The generic coordinates for Qifah are: 14.449335, 44.817596.

  • Reports of the incident mention the village of Jasima (جسيمة), allegedly within the Qifah (قيفه) district. Due to limited satellite imagery and information available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further.

    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

U.S. forces conducted a series of precision strikes in Yemen against al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, or AQAP, in the early morning of March 2 (Yemen time). More than 20 strikes targeted AQAP militants, equipment and infrastructure in the Yemeni governorates of Abyan, Al Bayda and Shabwah.

The strikes were conducted in partnership with the Government of Yemen, and were coordinated with President Hadi. The Government of Yemen is a valuable counter-terrorism partner, and we support its efforts to bring stability to the region by fighting known terrorist organizations like AQAP.

The strikes will degrade the AQAP's ability to coordinate external terror attacks and limit their ability to use territory seized from the legitimate government of Yemen as a safe space for terror plotting. Targets of the strikes included militants, equipment, infrastructure, heavy weapons systems and fighting positions.

AQAP has taken advantage of ungoverned spaces in Yemen to plot, direct, and inspire terror attacks against the United States and our allies. U.S. forces will continue to work with the Government of Yemen to defeat AQAP and deny it the ability to operate in Yemen.

Summary

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

Sources (12) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USYEMTr012-C

Incident date

March 2, 2017

Location

منطقة ‎‎ال عتيق, Al Ateeq area, Shabwa, Yemen

Geolocation

14.276246, 46.973611 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Neighbourhood/area level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Neighbourhood/area

Airwars assessment

Several sources reported that US airstrikes targeted AQAP militants in Wadi Yashbum, Shabwa province, at dawn on March 2nd 2017. Some local language Twitter sources reported that three areas of the Yashbum Valley had been targeted by US strikes simultaneously.  There were some allegations of civilian harm from the wider US campaign in the area, likely including this strike alongside a reported raid later on March 2nd (USYEMTr025-C).

A Yemeni security official told the Associated French Press that a dawn strike on Thursday March 2nd had targeted “the home of a known Al-Qaeda member in the Yashbum Valley”, killing four suspected AQAP who were standing outside. One local language Twitter source mentioned “four martyrs” in the area that morning.

According to the New York Times, Yemeni local media had reported that “at least three suspected Qaeda members were killed in the country’s southeastern province of Shabwa”, destroying “a house used by al-Qaeda operatives”. This strike reportedly took place in the al-Shu’bah area of the valley. Multiple sources alleged that the area was home to Saad Atef al-Ateeqi al-Awlaki, a senior AQAP leader, and the gathering place of AQAP militants. According to Akhbar al-Youm, Saad Atef survived this strike; it was unclear whether he was killed in US operations later that night.

On March 3rd, a Twitter source named four Awlaki men killed in Shabwa by US strikes a day earlier as Abu Haydara al-Awlaki, Abu Ali al-Awlaki, Abu Sina’ al-Awlaki, and Audh Barasin al-Awlaki, seemingly referring to alleged militant casualties. Given the shared provincial location, familial names, and casualty numbers of sources, it is likely that these names refer to the four alleged militants reportedly killed in this strike.

One local language Twitter source, posting before the onset of evening strikes, also referred to “four youth of the family of the Ma’bad, three of the Parasin, and one of the Atef family”, possibly referring to civilian or combatant casualties of the morning strike.  To account for the possibility that this was a report of civilian harm, minimum civilian deaths have been set at eight, though the overall assessment of civilian harm is “weak”.  To account for the possibility that this claim referred to militant casualties, a maximum of eight militant deaths has been set.

The Yashbam area was also reportedly the target of strikes and a US ground operation later on the night of March 2nd-3rd. On March 3rd, al-Jazeera reported that “twenty” strikes in the al-Shu’bah area of Yashbam Valley resulted in “deaths and injuries and the destruction of three houses, a gas station, a weapons store and a factory”, likely referring to the overall March 2nd-3rd US campaign in Yashbam Valley.  Al-Jazeera also reported that, according to Yemeni security sources, seven “suspected” AQAP members had been killed in the course of the strikes, and that women and children had been injured, according to tribal sources.

Some local language sources posted on Facebook overnight from March 2nd-3rd that a factory for the “block industry”, a “station for Hajj”, and the “mountains of Saeed” had been targeted.  These posts indicated that “several people were martyred in Beit Belaid al-Salmi” along with “women and children”, while three houses of “Hilal Atef” and one in Aydat Shams had been destroyed.  Though it is possible that these sources refer to damage and casualties inflicted by the earlier March 2nd strikes, most sources indicate that they took place during the evening strikes.  These reports are therefore accounted for in event USYEMTr025-C.

This strike reportedly took place amid a dramatic intensification of US operations against AQAP. On March 2nd, Pentagon spokesman Captain Jeff Davies announced “more than 20 strikes targeted AQAP militants, equipment and infrastructure in the Yemeni governorates of Abyan, Al Bayda and Shabwah” early that morning.  On March 3rd, the Associated Press reported that Yemeni officials and residents had said the US had conducted “dozens of airstrikes on al-Qaida targets in Yemen overnight and in the past 48 hours in one of the lengthiest, sustained operations inside this conflict-torn Arab country”.

A US military intelligence source told NBC News that the strikes were “part of ‘new directives’ to aggressively pursue the Dhahab and Qayfa clans”.  Estimates of the total death toll on March 2nd varied. On March 3rd, Reuters reported that Thursday’s strikes left “at least nine” dead, while officials speaking with the Associated Press said that seven alleged militants had been killed.  Oman Daily reported that 12 “suspected al-Qaeda members in Yemen” had been killed on March 2nd.

In it 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 credible 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 dawn.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Likely strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    8
  • 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
    4–8

Sources (21) [ collapse]

Geolocation notes (1) [ collapse]

Reports of the incident mention the area ascribed to the Ateeq tribe (‎‎ال عتيق) within Yashbum valley (وادي يشبم), Southeast of the town of Yashbum (يشبم), for which, due to limited satellite imagery and information available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further. Some resources point towards these coordinates as a possible location: 14.276246, 46.973611

  • Reports of the incident mention the area ascribed to the Ateeq tribe within Yashbum valley (وادي يشبم), Southeast of the town of Yashbum (يشبم).

    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.
  • Civilian deaths conceded
    None
  • Civilian injuries conceded
    None

Civilian casualty statements

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

Original strike reports

United States Armed Forces

U.S. forces conducted a series of precision strikes in Yemen against al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, or AQAP, in the early morning of March 2 (Yemen time). More than 20 strikes targeted AQAP militants, equipment and infrastructure in the Yemeni governorates of Abyan, Al Bayda and Shabwah.

The strikes were conducted in partnership with the Government of Yemen, and were coordinated with President Hadi. The Government of Yemen is a valuable counter-terrorism partner, and we support its efforts to bring stability to the region by fighting known terrorist organizations like AQAP.

The strikes will degrade the AQAP's ability to coordinate external terror attacks and limit their ability to use territory seized from the legitimate government of Yemen as a safe space for terror plotting. Targets of the strikes included militants, equipment, infrastructure, heavy weapons systems and fighting positions.

AQAP has taken advantage of ungoverned spaces in Yemen to plot, direct, and inspire terror attacks against the United States and our allies. U.S. forces will continue to work with the Government of Yemen to defeat AQAP and deny it the ability to operate in Yemen.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Likely strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    8
  • 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
    4–8

Sources (21) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USYEMTr019

Incident date

March 2, 2017

Location

مديرية الصعيد, As Said District, Shabwah, Yemen

Geolocation

14.329436, 46.873768 Note: The accuracy of this location is to District level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

District

Airwars assessment

Some local language sources suggested that a US drone strike killed at least three alleged AQAP militants travelling in a car in the Al Shuaib area, in the As Saeed directorate of Shabwah governorate. One source indicated that the strike took place in the “suburbs of Azan”. There were no reported civilian casualties.

It was unclear from available sources whether this was a unique strike incident, or if it referred to an already recorded event.  Airwars has already tracked multiple allegations of a US drone strike on March 2nd against four AQAP militants travelling in a vehicle in Saeed directorate, Shabwah governorate (listed as USYEMTr011).

This claimed strike took place amid a dramatic intensification of US operations against AQAP. On March 2nd, Pentagon spokesman Captain Jeff Davies announced “more than 20 strikes targeted AQAP militants, equipment and infrastructure in the Yemeni governorates of Abyan, Al Bayda and Shabwah” early that morning.  On March 3rd, the Associated Press reported that Yemeni officials and residents said that the US had conducted “dozens of airstrikes on al-Qaida targets in Yemen overnight and in the past 48 hours in one of the lengthiest, sustained operations inside this conflict-torn Arab country”.

A US military intelligence source told NBC News that the strikes were “part of ‘new directives’ to aggressively pursue the Dhahab and Qayfa clans”.

The incident occured around dawn.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Contested strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    None known
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Suspected attacker
    United States Armed Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP)
  • Belligerents reported killed
    3

Sources (8) [ collapse]

Geolocation notes (1) [ collapse]

Reports of the incident mention a vehicle being struck within the district of As Said (مديرية الصعيد), presumably west of its capital As Said (الصعيد), within the Shabwah (شبوة‎) governorate. Due to limited satellite imagery and information available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further. The generic coordinates for the capital are: 14.329436, 46.873768.

  • Reports of the incident mention a vehicle being struck within the district of As Said (مديرية الصعيد), presumably west of its capital As Said (الصعيد), within the Shabwah (شبوة‎) governorate. The red outline marks the boundaries of the district.

    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

U.S. forces conducted a series of precision strikes in Yemen against al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, or AQAP, in the early morning of March 2 (Yemen time). More than 20 strikes targeted AQAP militants, equipment and infrastructure in the Yemeni governorates of Abyan, Al Bayda and Shabwah.

The strikes were conducted in partnership with the Government of Yemen, and were coordinated with President Hadi. The Government of Yemen is a valuable counter-terrorism partner, and we support its efforts to bring stability to the region by fighting known terrorist organizations like AQAP.

The strikes will degrade the AQAP's ability to coordinate external terror attacks and limit their ability to use territory seized from the legitimate government of Yemen as a safe space for terror plotting. Targets of the strikes included militants, equipment, infrastructure, heavy weapons systems and fighting positions.

AQAP has taken advantage of ungoverned spaces in Yemen to plot, direct, and inspire terror attacks against the United States and our allies. U.S. forces will continue to work with the Government of Yemen to defeat AQAP and deny it the ability to operate in Yemen.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Contested strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    None known
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Suspected attacker
    United States Armed Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP)
  • Belligerents reported killed
    3

Sources (8) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USYEMTr025-C

Incident date

March 2–3, 2017

Location

وادي يشبم, Yashbum Valley, Shabwa, Yemen

Geolocation

14.304795, 46.934570 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Village level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Village

Airwars assessment

Several sources reported that US airstrikes and ground forces targeted AQAP militants, including alleged leader Saad Atef, in the Yashbum Valley of al-Saeed district in Shabwa province, overnight from March 2nd-3rd 2017, following airstrikes in the same area early on March 2nd. There were multiple allegations of civilian harm as a result of heavy munitions strikes and small arms fire between AQAP and US forces, including up to fourteen civilian fatalities.

Multiple sources alleged that civilians had been killed and injured in the course of the US operation. According to Al Jazeera, Xinhua and other sources, civilian homes and buildings were damaged or destroyed, and a number of civilians, including women and children, were wounded.  Sputnik News alleged that US activities had “resulted in the death and injury of civilians, including women and children”. Local sources indicated to al-Mayadeen that the strikes and fighting resulted in civilian casualties, including women and children. The BBC also reported that casualties of the operation included children.

One local language Facebook source reported that six people had been killed from the Atef family – presumably the family of Saad Atef, though it was unclear how many of this number were civilians.  Another reported that three houses of the Atef family had been burned “with women and children” inside.

Meanwhile, other local language sources reported that six civilians, including women and children, were “martyred from the family of Belaid al-Salmi”, and that there were further victims in “the house of Idat Shams”.  Local language Facebook sources also mentioned that family members of Belaid al-Salmi had been killed.

It is unclear whether all of those mentioned were civilians. To reflect this uncertainty, the minimum numbers of civilian deaths is presently set at ten.  Maximum civilian deaths is set at fourteen, to account for twelve possible victims from the Atef and al-Salmi families, as well as at least two others in the house of Idat Shams.

Assessments of combatant casualties also varied. Al-Jazeera reported that seven “suspected al-Qaeda members were killed” in the course of US strikes in the area from March 2nd-3rd.  AFP reported that eight had been killed, while local language sources, one quoting “local medics”, said that nine had been killed in exchanges of fire between US ground forces and AQAP militants. On March 3rd, Xinhua reported that “more than eleven” had been killed in the course of the firefight.

According to multiple sources, between ten and thirty US airstrikes hit the Yashbum Valley from late on March 2nd until dawn on March 3rd, with sources quoting different specific numbers of airstrikes at different times. One source claimed that continuous heavy bombing had begun at midday on March 2nd, though most reports indicated that the bulk of the strikes took place in the evening.

Multiple sources, including Al Araby, alleged that the principal target of the strikes was Saad Atef al-Ateeqi al-Awlaki, a senior AQAP leader in Shabwa, as well as known gathering places of AQAP militants. According to Akhbar al-Youm, Saad Atef had survived a previous US air strike that targeted him early on March 2nd; it was unclear whether he was killed in the March 2nd – 3rd strike.

Local residents told Almasdar Online that the overnight airstrikes “destroyed three houses, a block factory, a gas station, and a weapons depot”; on March 3rd al-Jazeera reported the same list of targets in the al-Shu’bah area of the Yashbam Valley.  It is possible that this also reflects damage caused by an earlier strike at dawn on March 2nd (USYEMTr012-C).  According to AFP, one of the destroyed houses belonged to Saad Atef, and local AQAP militants returned anti-aircraft fire throughout.  Reports indicated that both US helicopter gunships and drones were involved in the strike.  A nearby house in Idat Shams was also allegedly destroyed.

Airstrikes were reportedly accompanied, at around midnight, by the landing of US forces, potentially Navy SEALs, in Wadi Yashbum.  According to Sputnik News, a “local source” alleged that US special forces clashed with AQAP militants for half an hour.  Reuters also reported that a half-hour clash had taken place, based on reports from local residents, while AFP said that US forces “backed by drones and Apache helicopters… fought al-Qaeda militants for nearly an hour” before withdrawing.  One source said that US helicopters had struggled to land troops in the mountainous terrain, and some indicated that AQAP had claimed to have downed a US helicopter in the course of the firefight.

Speaking with Middle East Eye, an anonymous local source said that “the strikes affected the peace and tranquility of the civilians in the village, especially women and children. Civilians are still shaken up as a result of the events.  A number of civilians have been displaced as a result of the assault. Many escaped Shabwah out of fear for their lives”. Multiple reports suggested that many families had fled from the area due to the strikes; a local source told Akhbar Al-Janoubia that dozens of families had fled.  One Facebook user, Ween Al Enfigar Alaan, indicated that people were displaced from some neighbouring villages in “severe terror”. Al-Mayadeen reported that many fled to nearby Ateq.  According to Akhbar al-Youm, one resident described it as a “terrible night”.  Akhbar al Janoubia reported on Facebook that residents said “we don’t know the number of dead of some of the families of the people of Atef, and there are wounded in the valley waiting for their transportation to hospital”.

Reuters reported that, though the Pentagon confirmed that a number of airstrikes had taken place on Friday, spokesperson Captain Jeff Davis denied that US ground forces had been involved, telling reporters “I know there have been reports of firefights, raids, there have not been any that US forces have been involved in [on Friday]”.

This strike allegedly took place amid the dramatic intensification of US operations against AQAP in March 2017; on March 3rd, Pentagon spokesman Captain Jeff Davies announced that more than thirty strikes had been conducted since March 2nd in Yemen.  On March 3rd, the Associated Press reported that Yemeni officials and residents said that the US had conducted “dozens of airstrikes on al-Qaida targets in Yemen overnight and in the past 48 hours in one of the lengthiest, sustained operations inside this conflict-torn Arab country”.  A US military intelligence source told NBC News that the strikes beginning March 2nd were “part of ‘new directives’ to aggressively pursue the Dhahab and Qayfa clans”.

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

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

The incident occured during the night.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Likely strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Counter-Terrorism Action (Ground)
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    10 – 14
  • (4 children4 women)
  • Civilians reported injured
    4
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Fair
    Reported by two or more credible sources, with likely or confirmed near actions by a belligerent.
  • Suspected attacker
    United States Armed Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP)
  • Belligerents reported killed
    7–11

Sources (62) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (3) [ collapse]

  • One social-media source posted this picture, seemingly an alleged image of strikes in Wadi Yashbum (@saqr_220, March 2nd 2017)

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention the village of Wadi Yashbum (وادي يشبم), for which the coordinates are: 14.304795, 46.934570. 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

The U.S. military conducted precision strikes today in Yemen against al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula to target the dangerous terrorist group that is intent on attacking the West, a Pentagon spokesman said.

With today's actions, the United States has carried out more than 30 strikes in Yemen since yesterday against the terrorist group, Navy Capt. Jeff Davis told reporters.

"These counterterrorism strikes were conducted in partnership with the government of Yemen," Davis said, adding, "U.S. forces will continue to target [al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula] militants and facilities in order to disrupt the terrorist organization's plots and ultimately to protect American lives."

The results of the strikes are still being assessed, Davis said.

Aimed At Degrading Terrorist Capabilities

The aim of the strikes is to keep the pressure on the terrorists and deny them access and freedom of movement within traditional safe havens, Davis said. "They've taken advantage of ungoverned spaces in Yemen to plot, direct and inspire terrorist attacks against the United States," he added. "We'll continue to work with the government of Yemen and our partners on the ground to defeat [the organization] and deny it the ability to operate."

The actions since have targeted militants, equipment and infrastructure in the governorates of Abyan, Al Bayda and Shabwah and will degrade the terrorist group's ability to coordinate external terror attacks and limit its ability to use territory seized from Yemen’s legitimate government as a safe space for terror plotting, the captain said.

U.S. forces have not been involved in or near any firefights in Yemen since late January, Davis said. In that January operation, Navy Chief Petty Officer William "Ryan" Owens was killed and three other U.S. service members were wounded.

Extremely Dangerous al-Qaida Affiliate

Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula remains an extremely dangerous al-Qaida affiliate, and is taking advantage of the chaos in the country from the civil war there, Davis said, noting that the organization “has more American blood on its hands" than the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria does.

Davis said al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula is a "deadly terrorist organization that has proven itself to be very effective in targeting and killing Americans, and they have intent and aspirations to continue doing so."

The organization is integral to al-Qaida and remains intent on attacking Western targets, specifically the United States, a defense official said, speaking on background.

Total group strength in Yemen is in the "low thousands," the official said, adding that it remains a local and regional threat and directly contributes to the instability inside Yemen.

"This is a dangerous group locally, regionally and transnationally, to include against the United States, the West and our allies," the official said.

The terrorists have "skillfully exploited the disorder in Yemen to build its strength and reinvigorate its membership and training," the official said, noting that because members of al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula tend to be from Yemen, they can blend in with the tribes there.

There have been notable successes against the group, the official said, including killing some of its key leaders.

Iraq Update

In other news, Davis updated reporters on progress in Iraq in liberating western Mosul from ISIS. Iraqi forces have cut across Highway 1, effectively isolating Mosul from the Syrian city of Raqqa, he said. Some areas in the north are still ISIS-controlled, he said, so Mosul is not completely severed from Raqqa.

"But in terms of having a road, that road is now cut," he said.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Likely strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Counter-Terrorism Action (Ground)
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    10 – 14
  • (4 children4 women)
  • Civilians reported injured
    4
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Fair
    Reported by two or more credible sources, with likely or confirmed near actions by a belligerent.
  • Suspected attacker
    United States Armed Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP)
  • Belligerents reported killed
    7–11

Sources (62) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USYEMTr020

Incident date

March 2, 2017

Location

جعار, Ja'ar, Bayda', Yemen

Geolocation

14.25000, 45.83333 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Village level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Village

Airwars assessment

Multiple sources reported that several US airstrikes targeted alleged AQAP militants in the Sama’a district of Bayda governorate at dawn on March 2nd 2017. There were no reports on any casualties.

Several sources suggested that more than thirty airstrikes took place.  According to al-Ain, the strikes were conducted by American F-16 jets and helicopters, while other sources claimed that strikes were also conducted by drones. Several sources indicated that these raids focused on Wadi Saeed, Ja’ar district of Sama’a, as well as the ‘Khishna’ area.

One local source, speaking with Russia Today Arabic, indicated that the strikes were distributed across the Saeed district of Sama’a, “as well as several other mountain sites near the Directorate’s cemetery”. According to Akhbar al-Youm, strikes persisted from 2am until 5am, targeting areas “near the new hospital” and “the cemetery”, as well as “the Industrial Technical Institute”.

Local language social media sources indicated that the raids killed a donkey, but that there were no casualties or injuries.  According to Al-Ain, casualties were avoided as residents dispersed “as soon as they heard the flight of the aircraft in the area”.  Though most sources assigned responsibility to US forces, one local language source indicated that the airstrikes were “coalition”, likely referring to the Saudi-led Arab coalition fighting the Houthis.

This reported event allegedly took place amid a dramatic intensification of US operations against AQAP. On March 2nd, Pentagon spokesman Captain Jeff Davies announced “more than 20 strikes targeted AQAP militants, equipment and infrastructure in the Yemeni governorates of Abyan, Al Bayda and Shabwah” early that morning. On March 3rd, the Associated Press reported that Yemeni officials and residents said that the US had conducted “dozens of airstrikes on al-Qaida targets in Yemen overnight and in the past 48 hours in one of the lengthiest, sustained operations inside this conflict-torn Arab country”.

A US military intelligence source told NBC News that the strikes were “part of ‘new directives’ to aggressively pursue the Dhahab and Qayfa clans”.

The incident occured between 2:00 am and 5:00 am local time.

Summary

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

Sources (28) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (3) [ collapse]

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention the village of Ja’ar (جعار) located within As Sawma’ah district (مديرية الصومعة), for which the coordinates are: 14.25000, 45.83333. Due to limited satellite imagery and information available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further.

United States Armed Forces Assessment:

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

Original strike reports

United States Armed Forces

U.S. forces conducted a series of precision strikes in Yemen against al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, or AQAP, in the early morning of March 2 (Yemen time). More than 20 strikes targeted AQAP militants, equipment and infrastructure in the Yemeni governorates of Abyan, Al Bayda and Shabwah.

The strikes were conducted in partnership with the Government of Yemen, and were coordinated with President Hadi. The Government of Yemen is a valuable counter-terrorism partner, and we support its efforts to bring stability to the region by fighting known terrorist organizations like AQAP.

The strikes will degrade the AQAP's ability to coordinate external terror attacks and limit their ability to use territory seized from the legitimate government of Yemen as a safe space for terror plotting. Targets of the strikes included militants, equipment, infrastructure, heavy weapons systems and fighting positions.

AQAP has taken advantage of ungoverned spaces in Yemen to plot, direct, and inspire terror attacks against the United States and our allies. U.S. forces will continue to work with the Government of Yemen to defeat AQAP and deny it the ability to operate in Yemen.

Summary

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

Sources (28) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USYEMTr027

Incident date

March 2–3, 2017

Location

عقبة زعج, Aqaba Za'aj, Bayda', Yemen

Geolocation

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

Geolocation accuracy

Neighbourhood/area

Airwars assessment

Multiple local language sources indicated that US airstrikes took place in Aqaba Za’aj, in Qayfa Radaa, Bayda province, during the night from March 2nd to March 3rd. There were no known reports of civilian harm.

Various sources reported that strikes took place in Aqaba Za’aj, seemingly in conjunction with strikes against the nearby locations of Novan, Jassima and Yakla, all of which are reportedly also within the Qayfa Radaa area. These sources suggested that US helicopters and drones bombarded militant sites until dawn on the Friday, though no information was available on the number of strikes or numbers of casualties, if any.  Some suggested that an attempted US troop landing had taken place, and that five US Marines were killed after the claimed downing of an American helicopter.

Reuters reported that, though the Pentagon confirmed that a number of airstrikes had taken place on March 2nd-3rd, spokesperson Captain Jeff Davis had denied that US ground forces had been involved, telling reporters “I know there have been reports of firefights, raids, there have not been any that US forces have been involved in [on Friday]”.

This reported event took place amid a dramatic intensification of US operations against AQAP. On March 3rd, Pentagon spokesman Captain Jeff Davies announced that more than thirty strikes had been conducted since March 2nd in Yemen.  On the same day, Associated Press reported that Yemeni officials and residents said that the US had conducted “dozens of airstrikes on al-Qaida targets in Yemen overnight and in the past 48 hours in one of the lengthiest, sustained operations inside this conflict-torn Arab country”.

A US military intelligence source told NBC News that the strikes beginning March 2nd were “part of ‘new directives’ to aggressively pursue the Dhahab and Qayfa clans”.

The incident occured during the night.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Likely strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    None known
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Suspected attacker
    United States Armed Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP)
  • Belligerents reported killed
    5

Sources (16) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (1) [ collapse]

Geolocation notes (1) [ collapse]

Reports of the incident mention the village of Aqaba Za’aj (عقبة زعج), allegedly within the Qifah (قيفه) area, for which, due to limited satellite imagery and information available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further. The generic coordinates for Qifah are: 14.449335, 44.817596

  • Reports of the incident mention the village of Aqaba Za’aj (جسيمة), allegedly within the Qifah (قيفه) area.

    Imagery:
    Google Earth

United States Armed Forces Assessment:

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

Original strike reports

United States Armed Forces

The U.S. military conducted precision strikes today in Yemen against al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula to target the dangerous terrorist group that is intent on attacking the West, a Pentagon spokesman said.

With today's actions, the United States has carried out more than 30 strikes in Yemen since yesterday against the terrorist group, Navy Capt. Jeff Davis told reporters.

"These counterterrorism strikes were conducted in partnership with the government of Yemen," Davis said, adding, "U.S. forces will continue to target [al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula] militants and facilities in order to disrupt the terrorist organization's plots and ultimately to protect American lives."

The results of the strikes are still being assessed, Davis said.

Aimed At Degrading Terrorist Capabilities

The aim of the strikes is to keep the pressure on the terrorists and deny them access and freedom of movement within traditional safe havens, Davis said. "They've taken advantage of ungoverned spaces in Yemen to plot, direct and inspire terrorist attacks against the United States," he added. "We'll continue to work with the government of Yemen and our partners on the ground to defeat [the organization] and deny it the ability to operate."

The actions since have targeted militants, equipment and infrastructure in the governorates of Abyan, Al Bayda and Shabwah and will degrade the terrorist group's ability to coordinate external terror attacks and limit its ability to use territory seized from Yemen’s legitimate government as a safe space for terror plotting, the captain said.

U.S. forces have not been involved in or near any firefights in Yemen since late January, Davis said. In that January operation, Navy Chief Petty Officer William "Ryan" Owens was killed and three other U.S. service members were wounded.

Extremely Dangerous al-Qaida Affiliate

Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula remains an extremely dangerous al-Qaida affiliate, and is taking advantage of the chaos in the country from the civil war there, Davis said, noting that the organization “has more American blood on its hands" than the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria does.

Davis said al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula is a "deadly terrorist organization that has proven itself to be very effective in targeting and killing Americans, and they have intent and aspirations to continue doing so."

The organization is integral to al-Qaida and remains intent on attacking Western targets, specifically the United States, a defense official said, speaking on background.

Total group strength in Yemen is in the "low thousands," the official said, adding that it remains a local and regional threat and directly contributes to the instability inside Yemen.

"This is a dangerous group locally, regionally and transnationally, to include against the United States, the West and our allies," the official said.

The terrorists have "skillfully exploited the disorder in Yemen to build its strength and reinvigorate its membership and training," the official said, noting that because members of al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula tend to be from Yemen, they can blend in with the tribes there.

There have been notable successes against the group, the official said, including killing some of its key leaders.

Iraq Update

In other news, Davis updated reporters on progress in Iraq in liberating western Mosul from ISIS. Iraqi forces have cut across Highway 1, effectively isolating Mosul from the Syrian city of Raqqa, he said. Some areas in the north are still ISIS-controlled, he said, so Mosul is not completely severed from Raqqa.

"But in terms of having a road, that road is now cut," he said.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Likely strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    None known
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Suspected attacker
    United States Armed Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP)
  • Belligerents reported killed
    5

Sources (16) [ collapse]