US Forces in Yemen

Mabkhout Ali al Ameri with his 18-month old son Mohammed, shortly after a botched US raid on al Ghayil in January 2017 had killed at least 20 villagers, including Mohammed's mother Fatim Saleh Mohsen. © Iona Craig

Belligerent
US Forces
Country
Yemen
start date
end date
Civilian Harm Status
Belligerent Assessment
Declassified Documents
Strike Status
Strike Type

Incident Code

USYEMTr149

Incident date

February 24, 2018

Location

البيضاء, Al Bayda, Yemen

Geolocation

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

Geolocation accuracy

Province/governorate

Airwars assessment

A US strike against an unknown party took place in Bayda governorate on February 24th 2018, the second of two on that date, a US Central Command spokesperson later told the Long War Journal.

There were reports that a strike took place in the Al Quraishyah District (مديريه القريشيه) of Bayda against four alleged belligerents (USYEMTr148), which may have involved two strikes.

This entry has been created to reflect the possibility that the second strike reported by Central Command was a unique event. No additional details are presently known.

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
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Known attacker
    US Forces
  • Known target
    Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP)

Sources (2) [ collapse]

Geolocation notes (1) [ collapse]

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

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

    Imagery:
    Google Earth

US Forces Assessment:

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

Original strike reports

US Forces

In a major move toward transparency, US Central Command (CENTCOM) provided details to FDD’s Long War Journal on US air strikes against Al Qaeda’s branch in Yemen. Since early 2017, the military previously provided little information on the Yemen air campaign, typically providing only an aggregate number and limited detail on high-value target strikes.
In an email to LWJ, CENTCOM’s Major Josh T. Jacques disclosed the dates and locations of the last five months of strikes in Yemen. The information revealed that since the beginning of 2018, the US campaign against Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) in Yemen has focused on three governorates: Hadramout (eight strikes), Al Bayda (17), and Shabwa (three), demonstrating the eastern reach of the terrorist group.
Last year’s publicized strikes were concentrated in the central governorates of Al Bayda and Marib.
Location of US air strikes against AQAP and the Islamic State in 2018:
– Jan. 2018: Ten total strikes. The US conducted 8 strikes against AQAP in Bayda on Jan. 1, 3, 9, 12, 13, 20, 25, and 29. An additional strike against AQAP in Shabwah occurred on Jan. 26. An additional strike against the Islamic State occurred on Jan. 12 in Bayda.
– Feb. 2018: Six total strikes, all in Al Bayda governorate. Strikes occurred on Feb. 7, 11, 12, 16, and 24 (two strikes were conducted on Feb. 24).
– Mar. 2018: Seven total strikes, six of which occurred in Hadramout. Strikes occurred on Mar. 4 (two strikes), 5, 7, 8, and 13. An additional strike in Bayda occurred on March 29. [AQAP’s apparent entrenchment in eastern Yemen is concerning. In addition to the concentration of strikes in Hadramout, CENTCOM previously disclosed that AQAP operated training camps in the governorate as recently as April 2018, when they were targeted by American strikes.]
– Apr. 2018: Four total strikes, one each in Shabwah (April 26) and Al Bayda (April 23), and two in Hadramout (both on April 11).
– May 2018: One strike, in Shabwah on May 14.
– Jun. 2018: No strikes to date.
The US military has stepped up its counterterrorism campaign against al Qaeda’s branch in Yemen as well as the Islamic State since President Trump took office in 2017. Last year, the US launched 131 strikes (125 against AQAP and six against the Islamic State), nearly tripling the previous yearly high of 44 strikes in 2016.
At the current pace, the US will fall far short of that mark; there have been 28 strikes reported by CENTCOM in Yemen in the first five months of 2018.
This counterterrorism campaign has targeted AQAP’s infrastructure, including its training camps and media operations, which serve as a hub for al Qaeda’s global communications. The US has killed several mid-level AQAP leaders and media officials in its air campaign.
Despite suffering setbacks after seizing large areas of southern and central Yemen between 2015-2016, AQAP remains a persistent threat to both the embattled Yemeni government and US interests worldwide. AQAP still controls remote rural areas in Yemen and operates training camps. The group’s master bomb maker, Ibrahim al Asiri, who has engineered several bombs which have evaded airport security, remains one of the most wanted jihadists on the planet.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian harm reported
    None known
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Known attacker
    US Forces
  • Known target
    Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP)

Sources (2) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USYEMTr026-C

Incident date

March 2–3, 2017

Location

يكلا, Yakla, Bayda', Yemen

Geolocation

14.594167, 45.067500 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Village level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Village

Airwars assessment

Multiple sources suggested that US airstrikes targeted alleged AQAP militants in al-Ghail village and in the broader Yakla area of Qaifa, Bayda governorate, overnight from March 2nd to March 3rd, killing at least three alleged militants. Some sources reported that there was an unspecified number of civilian casualties.

Local sources reported that the overnight strikes targeted the home of Sheikh Abdelilah Ahmed Nasser al-Dhahab, which had previously been reportedly targeted in a US strike early on March 2nd (USYEMTr018).  According to these sources, three of al-Dhahab’s “guards” were killed in the evening strike, named as Salah Salah al-Ayashi, Yaqoub al-Shahri, and Yahya al-Shahri. The Intercept reported that the three casualties were members of al-Dhahab’s extended family, from al Manasa village. According to multiple sources, al-Dhahab himself was not present in Yakla at the time of the strike, having been fighting in Marib since mid-February.

One local language source indicated that there were “civilian martyrs” in Yakla, while another mentioned “the killing of women and children”, though it was unclear whether this referred to casualties from this strike specifically. Airwars’ minimum civilian casualty assessment has therefore been set at four, including at least two women and two children, though this assessment has been graded as “weak” to reflect the lack of claims. Sources variously reported that “more than thirty” and “over fifty” strikes were conducted in Yakla overnight by US helicopters and drones. These reported strikes allegedly took place in conjunction with other reported US strikes across the Qaifa region.

Al-Ghail was previously the target of a US (and allegedly, Emirati) ground raid on January 29th 2017 which had resulted in the deaths of at least twenty civilians, including eleven children. Reportedly amongst the dead were several relatives of Abdul Ilah al-Dhahab, including his son Nasser; his niece Nawar al-Awlaki; and two of his brothers, alleged AQAP militants Sultan and Abd-al-Ra’uf al-Dhahab. Multiple sources, however, disputed that the latter two were affiliated with AQAP, instead suggesting that they were instead involved with pro-Hadi militia forces.

This reported action 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”.

In their 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
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    4
  • (2 children2 women)
  • 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
  • Suspected target
    Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP)
  • Belligerents reported killed
    3

Sources (28) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (2) [ collapse]

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention the village of Yakla (يكلا), for which the coordinates are: 14.594167, 45.067500. Due to limited satellite imagery and information available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further.

US Forces Assessment:

  • Suspected belligerent
    US Forces
  • US Forces position on incident
    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

US 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

US 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
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    4
  • (2 children2 women)
  • 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
  • Suspected target
    Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP)
  • Belligerents reported killed
    3

Sources (28) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USYEMTr065

Incident date

April 1–2, 2017

Location

الشبيك, Al Shubayka, Shabwa, Yemen

Geolocation

14.665188, 46.812263 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Neighbourhood/area level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Neighbourhood/area

Airwars assessment

US drone strikes reportedly targeted a large gathering of alleged AQAP militants near Al Shubayka, north of Ataq in Shabwa governorate, at around midnight from April 1st to April 2nd 2017. There were no known associated reports of civilian harm.

Several sources reported that the strikes targeted a meeting of AQAP leaders in Al-Shubayka village, on the outskirts of Ataq, with illumination shells fired in the area to track the militants. For example Salmashad reported that “air strikes targeed al-Qaeda members in the village of Al-Shabik, north of Ataq, Shabwa governorate, after intelligence was obtained suggesting a meeting of the leaders of the organization.” The same source claimed that the attack continued against alleged AQAP militants fleeing the village by car, though no known sources mentioned the number of militant casualties, if any.

Some sources, for example Yafa News, described the strikes as preventing an attack by militant vehicles on nearby Ataq airport, though the reasoning for these reports was unclear.

This reported event took place amid a dramatic intensification of US operations against AQAP, beginning in early March 2017. On April 3rd 2017, Pentagon spokesperson Captain Jeff Davis said that, since February 28th 2017, 70 US airstrikes were conducted in Yemen.

The incident occured around midnight.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Likely strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    None known
  • 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 (24) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (7) [ collapse]

  • US drone strikes reportedly targeted alleged AQAP militants in and near Al-Shubayka, north of Ataq, overnight from April 1st to April 2nd 2017. Areas hit by missiles were visible the following day. (@ali_bin_aidaros, April 2nd 2017)
  • US drone strikes reportedly targeted alleged AQAP militants in and near Al-Shubayka, north of Ataq, overnight from April 1st to April 2nd 2017. Illumination shells were reportedly fired in the area by US forces. (@demolinari, April 2nd 2017)
  • US drone strikes reportedly targeted alleged AQAP militants in and near Al-Shubayka, north of Ataq, overnight from April 1st to April 2nd 2017. Illumination shells were reportedly fired in the area by US forces. (@adenlang, April 2nd 2017)

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention a strike in the vicinity of Al Shubayka (الشبيك) village, for which the generic coordinates are: 14.665188, 46.812263. Due to limited satellite imagery and information available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further.

US Forces Assessment:

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

Original strike reports

US Forces

The U.S. military conducted airstrikes over eastern Yemen during the weekend, targeting the sites of extremist group al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, director of Pentagon spokesman Navy Capt. Jeff Davis told reporters today.

“We continue to target [al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula] in Yemen, and this is done in the interest of disrupting a terror organization that presents a very significant threat to the United States,” Davis said.

Strikes Target Terrorists

During the weekend in Yemen’s Shabwah governorate, the precision airstrikes targeted al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula terrorists, as well as the terrorists’ infrastructure, fighting positions and equipment, the spokesman said.

The airstrikes follow the late-January U.S. raid in Yemen during which a U.S. service member died. From Feb. 28 through last week, some 50 airstrikes were conducted, Davis noted.

The weekend airstrikes, which were largely unmanned, bring the total to 70, he said.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Likely strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    None known
  • 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 (24) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USYEMTr138

Incident date

January 16, 2018

Location

مديرية الصومعة, Al Suma'a District, Al 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

A US drone strike reportedly killed an alleged AQAP militant on a motorbike in Sama’a district, in Bayda governorate, on the evening of January 16th 2018. There were no known associated reports of civilian harm.

Both @demolinari and @AdenNowNews reported that Akram Al-Adeni was killed by a US strike in Sama’a on that day; according to their sources, @AdenNowNews indicated that the strike took place in the evening.

However, another source, @JoshuaKoontz__, suggested only that a pro-AQAP account had claimed that Akram Al-Adeni was killed in a “recent airstrike”. This same source indicated that Al-Adeni may instead have been killed in an earlier US strike in Sama’a on January 9th 2018 (USYEMTr131), which reportedly killed three AQAP militants.

CENTCOM also did not declare a strike in the area for this date, in a lengthy comment to the Long War Journal. Since two sources suggested a discrete strike on the 16th, this event has been assessed as “likely”.

The local time of the incident is unknown.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Likely strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    None known
  • 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)
  • Belligerents reported killed
    1

Sources (5) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (4) [ collapse]

  • One source, @JoshuaKoontz__, indicated that Akram Al-Adeni may have been killed in the January 9th-10th strike. Two sources, however, indicated that he may have instead died in an later strike on January 16th 2018. (@demolinari, January 17th 2018)

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

US Forces Assessment:

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

Summary

  • Strike status
    Likely strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    None known
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • 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 (5) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USYEMTr215

Incident date

December 7, 2019

Location

Arqoub, Abyan, Yemen

Geolocation

13.468889, 45.763889 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Nearby landmark level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Nearby landmark

Airwars assessment

A few local-language Twitter sources suggested, on December 7th 2019, that US drone strikes had targeted “Muslim Brotherhood” militias, also described as “terrorists”, in the mountains of Al Arqoub in Abyan governorate. No other known sources reported US strikes, and there was no known information on alleged casualties.

The first known report of the strikes, from Twitter account @moam8888849 at 1:34 AM on December 7th, only reported that drones were bombing “unknown targets” in the mountains of Arqoub. A second account, @8k3b82LEv96mpzC, appeared to assign responsibility to the US for the strikes, which @salem_Alshaiba [perhaps recirculating the above] described as an “intense bombardment” by American forces.

On January 2nd 2020, US Central Command told New America that no US military strikes had been conducted in Yemen since June 24th 2019. The alleged strikes came amidst continued clashes between southern separatist forces and pro-government forces in southern Yemen, including in Abyan governorate.

The incident was first reported on December 7, 2019 at 1:34 am by @moam8888849.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Single source claim
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    None known
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Suspected attacker
    US Forces
  • Suspected targets
    Other, Unknown

Sources (4) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (3) [ collapse]

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention the vicinity of the Arqoub (زنجبار‎) area, for which the generic coordinates are:13.468889, 45.763889. Due to limited satellite imagery and information available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further.

US Forces Assessment:

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

Original strike reports

US Forces

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

Summary

  • Strike status
    Single source claim
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    None known
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Suspected attacker
    US Forces
  • Suspected targets
    Other, Unknown

Sources (4) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USYEMTr229

Incident date

July 3, 2020

Location

قصر محافظ محافظة شبوة, Palace of the Governor of Shabwa, Shabwa, Yemen

Geolocation

14.536605, 46.830683 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Exact location (via Airwars) level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Exact location (via Airwars)

Airwars assessment

According to some local language social-media sources, a US drone strike targeted the home of Shabwa Governor Mohammed Salih Bin Adiyu in Ataq city, Shabwa, late on July 3rd 2020. Most sources, however, including local news outlets, instead reported that a fire had broken out in the building, leading to the explosion of a weapons store. No known sources gave information on casualties, and there were no known reports of civilian harm.

Social-media sources including @Mohamme19780462, @Shalal_Gaman, and @g3raan31 suggested the building was targeted as a meeting of alleged AQAP or ISIS “terrorists” took place.

News outlets, including Al-Masshad Al-Yemeni, Aden TM, and Yemen Press Agency, instead reported that a fire had broken out in the house. Local sources told Yemen Press Agency that a short-circuit had caused the fire, which had ignited ammunition and weapons stockpiles in the building, leading to “huge explosions”. These sources describe a state of panic in the local area due to these explosions.

Given disputed reporting on the origins of the fire and explosions, this event has been assessed by Airwars as “contested”.

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

The incident occured during the night.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Contested strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    None known
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Suspected attacker
    US Forces
  • Suspected targets
    Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), ISIS - Yemen

Sources (10) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (7) [ collapse]

  • Some social-media sources suggested that a US drone strike had targeted "terrorists" in the house of the Shabwa governor (@Mohamme19780462, July 3rd 2020)
  • News outlets, however, instead reported that a fire had broken out in the building due to an electrical fault (@Mohamme19780462, July 3rd 2020)
  • The fire reportedly led to explosions when an ammunition store was ignited (@Mohamme19780462, July 3rd 2020)
  • Explosions reportedly took place in the house of Shabwa governor, Mohammed bin Adiyu (@g3raan31, July 3rd 2020)

Geolocation notes (3) [ collapse]

Reports of the incident mention the Palace of the Governor of Shabwa (قصر محافظ محافظة شبوة) being struck, within the city of Ataq (عــتق). Using visual footage from the incident we have identified the exact location of this strike, for which the coordinates are: 14.536605, 46.830683.

  • Reports of the incident mention the Palace of the Governor of Shabwa (قصر محافظ محافظة شبوة) being struck, within the city of Ataq (عــتق). Using visual footage from the incident we have identified the exact location of this strike.

    Imagery:
    Google Earth

  • Tagged visual material from sources.

    Imagery:
    @Mohamme19780462

  • Tagged satellite imagery.

    Imagery:
    Google Earth

US Forces Assessment:

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

Summary

  • Strike status
    Contested strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    None known
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Suspected attacker
    US Forces
  • Suspected targets
    Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), ISIS - Yemen

Sources (10) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USYEMTr007

Incident date

January 30, 2017

Location

بيحان, Baihan, Shabwa, Yemen

Geolocation

14.774219, 45.735397 Note: The accuracy of this location is to District level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

District

Airwars assessment

A suspected US drone strike against a car killed two AQAP members in Baihan, Shabwa province on the morning of January 30th 2017, multiple sources reported.  There were no known associated reports of civilian harm.

According to news agencies, Yemeni officials suggested that a US drone had targeted the car in the Baihan region, on the border with Marib governorate.

A US military spokesperson, however, told the Bureau of Investigative Journalism that CENTCOM did not conduct a strike in the area at that time. It is therefore possible that the reported strike was conducted by the CIA.

The incident occured in the morning.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Likely strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    None known
  • 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)
  • Belligerents reported killed
    2

Sources (28) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (2) [ collapse]

Geolocation notes (1) [ collapse]

Reports of the incident mention a vehicle being struck in the Baihan (بيحان) district, within the Shabwa (شبوة) province. Due to limited satellite imagery and information available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further. The generic coordinates for Baihan are: 14.774219, 45.735397.

  • Reports of the incident mention a vehicle being struck in the Baihan (بيحان) district, within the Shabwa (شبوة) province.

    Imagery:
    Google Earth

US Forces Assessment:

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

Original strike reports

US Forces

Jack,
I can confirm that CENTCOM did not conduct a strike in that area.

V/R,
Maj. Josh T. Jacques, USA

Summary

  • Strike status
    Likely strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    None known
  • 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)
  • Belligerents reported killed
    2

Sources (28) [ collapse]