US Forces in Yemen

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

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

Incident Code

USYEMTr001

Incident date

January 20, 2017

Location

مديرية الصومعة, Al Suma'a, Bayda, Yemen

Geolocation

14.238230, 45.833603 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Exact location (other) level. Continue to map

Airwars assessment

On January 25th 2017, a US spokesperson confirmed that a strike took place in al-Bayda governorate on January 20th, killing one AQAP operative.  This confirmed reports that a US drone strike in al-Suma’a district, Bayda governorate, killed at least one alleged AQAP militant on that afternoon. There were no known reports of civilian harm.  January 20th 2017 marked the first day of Donald Trump’s presidency.

Several reports, from sources including @demolinari and Nashwa News, named the alleged AQAP member killed as “leader” Abu Anas Al-Ibbi, who AFP reported to be a “local military instructor” for AQAP.  Others, including Sky News Arabia, described the person killed as a “moderate” leader in AQAP.

Some sources, however, later suggested that Al-Ibbi was killed in a further strike on January 21st 2020.  Lime Charlie News indicated that Al-Ibbi was killed on January 21st, but also described the person killed in the strike a day prior as “a militia organizer and trainer of militia members”, matching AFP’s description of Al-Ibbi as an “instructor”.  According to Lima Charlie News, the “high value target” killed on January 20th resided in a small building behind a Madressa, and the target’s whereabouts was confirmed by “assets” on the ground prior to the strike.

An AQAP statement later confirmed that “brother jihadist” Abu Anas Al-Ibbi had been killed by a US drone strike on the afternoon of January 20th.  Twitter sources, including @demolinari and @yemencurrent, indicated that the strike targeted a car in the area, and the latter specified that it took place at around 11:50 AM.

On January 23rd 2017, a US military spokesperson stated that three airstrikes had targeted AQAP militants in al-Bayda governorate from the 20th to the 22nd, killing five.

Although the strike occurred on the same day as the inauguration of the US president, the Washington Post reported Pentagon spokesperson Navy Captain Jeff Davis as saying that they (three strikes confirmed by the US) did not require approval by recently appointed Defense Secretary James Mattis or of new President Donald Trump.

The incident occured in the afternoon.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    No
  • 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)
  • Belligerents reported killed
    1

Sources (22) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (5) [ collapse]

  • Alleged location of January 20th strike
  • A statement from a pro-AQAP media outlet stated that Al-Ibbi had been killed by a US drone strike on the afternoon of January 20th 2017 (@TerrorMonitorAR, January 21st 2017)

Geolocation notes (2) [ collapse]

Reports of the incident mention a strike on a vehicle in the district of Al Suma’a (مديرية الصومعة). Yemen Current (@yemencurrent) alleged that the exact coordinates for this incident are: 14.238230, 45.833603, we can confirm that this location is within the district mentioned, however, due to limited information available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further.

  • Reports of the incident mention a strike on a vehicle in the district of Al Suma'a (مديرية الصومعة).

    Imagery:
    Google Earth

  • The alleged exact location of the strike according to one source.

    Imagery:
    Google Earth

US Forces Assessment:

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

Original strike reports

US Forces

The U.S. military conducted strikes on al-Qa'ida in the Arabian Peninsula operatives in central Yemen on Jan. 20, 21 and 22.

On Jan. 20, one strike killed an AQAP operative in the al-Baydah Governorate.

On Jan. 21, one strike killed three AQAP operatives in the al-Baydah Governorate.

On Jan. 22, one strike killed an AQAP operative in the al-Baydah Governorate.

"Strikes against al-Qa'ida operatives in Yemen put consistent pressure on the terrorist network and prevent them from plotting and executing attacks against the U.S. and our allies," said Army Maj. Josh T. Jacques, a U.S. Central Command spokesman. "AQAP remains a significant threat to the region, the United States, and beyond."

The CENTCOM mission is to direct and enable military operations and activities with allies and partners to increase regional security and stability in support of enduring U.S. interests.

"U.S. Central Command remains committed to defeating AQAP and denying it safe havens in Yemen," Jacques said.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    No
  • 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)
  • Belligerents reported killed
    1

Sources (22) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USYEMTr155-C

Incident date

March 8–9, 2018

Location

على الحدود بين مديرية خب و الشعف و مديرية العبر, At the border between Khab wa Ash Sha'f the and the Al Abr district , Hadramout/Al Jawf, Yemen

Geolocation

16.180272, 46.832936 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Neighbourhood/area level. Continue to map

Airwars assessment

Six civilians, including a teenage boy, were reportedly killed by a US drone strike while driving in the border region between Al-Jawf and Hadramout governorates, at around 3pm on March 8th 2018. The Yemeni Minister of Human Rights, Mohamed Askar, condemned the attack as “extrajudicial killings”.

A US Central Command spokesperson later told the Long War Journal that a strike had taken place in Hadramout on March 8th 2018. Since there were no other known reports of a US strike on that day, this event is treated as a declared strike.

Mwatana for Human Rights named the dead as Muhsin bin Ali Hadi Al Wahair (52 years old); Hizam Abdullah Saeed Al Wahair (40 years old); Shaji’ Abdullah Saeed Al Wahair (32 years old); Muhammad Abdullah Saeed Al Wahair (37 years old); Mahdi Saeed Abdullah Al Wahair (15 years old); and Abdullah bin Hasan Hamad Hiraidan (22 years old). All were reported to be from the Al-Wuhair family, a part of the Al-Mahashima tribe. The targeted members of the Al-Mahashima tribe were reportedly internally-displaced persons fleeing fighting in Al-Jawf, with tribespeople allegedly targeted by at least two other US strikes in early March 2018.

Local sources told both The Intercept and the Associated Press that the six casualties were civilians. No known sources suggested that those killed were militants.  Mwatana similarly found that, though those killed carried weapons, there was “no credible indication” that any were associated with any extremist militant groups.

Relatives told Mwatana that Muhammad and Muhsin were truck drivers; that Hizam and Shaji’ were resident in Saudi Arabia; and that Abdullah and Mahdi were enlisted border guards in the Yemeni government army’s First Brigade. The Intercept reported that four of those killed had previously been fighting alongside the pro-Hadi military. Mohamed Askar, writing in The Guardian, said that a government committee had collected evidence that the dead were civilians: “The Yemeni National Committee, the official body tasked with documenting abuses, employed a team of investigators to establish the facts of the missile strikes on 5 and 8 March. They interviewed locals and collected signed statements, categorically stating that none of the men killed had any ties to al-Qaida.”

Saleh Al-Wuhair, the brother of one of those killed, told Associated Press that “I saw it before my eyes… Bodies were ripped apart”. Abdullah bin Saeed Al-Wuhair, the sheikh of the tribe, told Mwatana that three of the dead were his sons, and two were his grandsons. “[W]e got none of the security that we were looking for…   All of them were killed in a horrible manner… They were good people and supported large families”, he said.

Reprieve shared their findings on this strike with Airwars. An on-the-ground investigator reported that the strike had killed six, including two brothers aged forty and thirty-three, as well as a fifty-five-year-old, a thirty-year-old, a twenty-year-old, and an eighteen-year-old.

While most indicated that six people had died, some, including Al-Masdar Online and Salmashhad, suggested that eight tribesmen had died in the strike on March 8th, naming two additional individuals: Amer Ali Muhammad al-Saqra Haridan Al-Mahashima, and Saleh Ali Al-Wuhair Al-Mahashima. However, these reports appear to have included the named alleged victims of two prior strikes in the same area (USYEMTr152-C, USYEMTr154-C) in the death toll of this event. These reports are therefore not accounted for in this event. One Twitter source, @MohammedSailan1, suggested that five tribesmen had died, including one “young man”.

A few sources, including Yemeni journalist @mareb_alward and government minister Mohamed Askar,  indicated that one of the six reportedly killed in the strike was aged thirteen or younger; it is possible that this also reflects reporting of a previous alleged child casualty on March 5th (USYEMTr152-C). An image of a child, posted by these sources, was also indicated by another source to be Amer Huraidan, reportedly killed in the earlier strike (USYEMTr152-C). Associated Press reported that a fourteen-year-old and an eighteen-year-old died in the strike, but did not name them.

A local activist told The Intercept that some members of the Al-Mahashima tribe, to which the alleged strike victims belonged, were members of AQAP. A Yemeni intelligence official, however, indicated that those members of the tribe had been killed a considerable time ago.

Sources all appeared to indicate that the strike took place in the border region between the Al Jawf and Hadramout governorates, though disagreed about the specific location.  Most sources indicated that a car was targeted in the  Al-Abr desert area, Hadramout, though eyewitnesses told Mwatana that the attack took place in  Al Khab Wal Sha’f, Al-Jawf, as those targeted travelled to Al-Abr. Though most, including Mwatana, suggested that the strike took place on March 8th, both The Intercept and Associated Press instead indicated March 9th.

A US Central Command spokesperson later told the Long War Journal that a strike had taken place in Hadramout on March 8th 2018. Since there were no other known reports of a US strike on that day, this event is treated as a declared strike. CENTCOM also  told the Bureau of Investigative Journalism that allegations of civilian harm in this strike were non-credible, due to a lack of available evidence.

“Our lives and the lives of our children and women have become in constant danger because of these repeated attacks that have killed innocents without any justification. If we keep quiet about this, these drone strikes will only continue in this manner because the Yemeni government’s abandonment of us”, Sinan Abdullah Al-Wuhair told Mwatana.

In its annual civilian casualty report to Congress issued in April 2019, the US Department of Defense stated that it had assessed “no credible reports of civilian casualties resulting from US military actions in Yemen during 2018”.

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

The incident occured at approximately 3:00 pm local time.

The victims were named as:

Family members (6)

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    6
  • (1 child5 men)
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Fair
    Reported by two or more credible sources, with likely or confirmed near actions by a belligerent.
  • Known attacker
    US Forces

Sources (21) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (2) [ collapse]

  • The strike reportedly targeted a vehicle, killing all of those inside (@YemenAskar, March 9th 2018)
  • Mohamed Askar, Yemeni Minister for Human Rights, condemned the strike, and tweeted this image of a thirteen-year-old allegedly killed in the strike. However, this picture was also reported by another source to show a child killed in a previous strike on March 5th 2018. (@YemenAskar, March 9th 2018)

Geolocation notes (1) [ collapse]

Reports of the incident mention a vehicle being struck at the border between Khab wa Ash Sha’f (مديرية خب و الشعف) the and the Al Abr district (مديرية العبر).Due to limited satellite imagery and information available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further. The generic coordinates for this area are: 16.180272, 46.832936.

  • Reports of the incident mention a vehicle being struck at the border between Khab wa Ash Sha'f (مديرية خب و الشعف) the and the Al Abr district (مديرية العبر).

    Imagery:
    Google Earth

US Forces Assessment:

  • Known 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.
  • Reason for non-credible assessment
    Insufficient evidence of civilian harm, No reason given
  • Civilian deaths conceded
    None
  • Civilian injuries conceded
    None

Civilian casualty statements

US Forces
  • Nov 5, 2020
  • Apr 29, 2019
  • A spokesperson told the Bureau of Investigative Journalism: "After a thorough review of the facts and circumstances of each civilian casualty report you provided, all four were assessed to be non-credible."

  • C. U.S. military action in Yemen against al-Qa’ida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and ISIS During 2018, U.S. forces deployed to Yemen continued to work towards disrupting and degrading the terrorist threat posed by AQAP and ISIS. U.S. forces conducted 36 airstrikes against AQAP and ISIS operatives and facilities in Yemen and supported United Arab Emirates and Yemen-led efforts to clear AQAP from Shabwah Governorate. DoD has no credible reports of civilian casualties resulting from U.S. military actions in Yemen during 2018.

  • Via email to Airwars: 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

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, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    6
  • (1 child5 men)
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Fair
    Reported by two or more credible sources, with likely or confirmed near actions by a belligerent.
  • Known attacker
    US Forces

Sources (21) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USYEMTr140

Incident date

January 25, 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

Airwars assessment

A US airstrike targeted AQAP in Bayda governorate on January 25th 2018, a US Central Command spokesperson later told the Long War Journal.

Our Arabic-language researchers found no local reports of a US strike on that day, and there were no known claims of civilian harm.

The local time of the incident is unknown.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian harm reported
    No
  • 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.

Note: This article was updated to include the dates and locations of Jan. 2018 strikes.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian harm reported
    No
  • 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

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

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
    No
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Suspected attacker
    US Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP)
  • 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

US Forces Assessment:

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

Original strike reports

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

Sources (8) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USYEMTr059

Incident date

March 30–31, 2017

Location

سبخة, أحور, Salt marshes, Ahwar, Abyan, Yemen

Geolocation

13.519256, 46.712837 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Neighbourhood/area level. Continue to map

Airwars assessment

At least a dozen US air and naval strikes reportedly targeted alleged AQAP militants in an area of salt marshes south of Ahwar city, in the Ahwar directorate of Abyan governorate, overnight from March 30th to March 31st 2017. There are no known associated reports of civilian harm.

Several sources indicated that overnight naval and drone strikes targeted militants as they fled from earlier reported strikes against AQAP sites in or around Mogan, al-Maraqisha, on the Abyan coast. Al Itihad for example noted that “other raids targeted groups of terrorist elements in the Sabkha area while they were fleeing from the bombing that targeted their training camps in the areas of Mogan and Khobar Al-Marashshah In the district of Ahwar.”

There were no clear allegations of casualties from the reported strikes, though the now-deleted account @CombatTerrorism reportedly indicated that the militants “all died”, according to sources including Yafa News and Sahafanet. Airwars has, therefore, assessed that a minimum of two militants were allegedly killed in the strike.

This reported event took place amid a dramatic intensification of US operations against AQAP in March 2017. On April 3rd, Pentagon spokesperson Captain Jeff Davis said that, from February 28th to the final week of March, fifty US airstrikes were conducted in Yemen.

The incident occured during the night.

Summary

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

Sources (11) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (3) [ collapse]

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention a vehicle being struck in the vicinity of the coastal salt marshes (سبخة), located within the Qaroub (علبوب) area, south of Ahwar (أحور) city. Due to limited satellite imagery and information available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further. The generic coordinates for Ahwar are: 13.519256, 46.712837.

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, Naval bombardment
  • Civilian harm reported
    No
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Suspected attacker
    US Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP)
  • Belligerents reported killed
    2

Sources (11) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USYEMTr113

Incident date

November 10, 2017

Location

جبل عكد, Jabal Akad, Abyan, Yemen

Geolocation

13.818682, 45.937657 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Nearby landmark level. Continue to map

Airwars assessment

A US drone strike reportedly killed two alleged AQAP militants in or near Jabal Akad, in the Lawdar district of Abyan governorate, on November 10th 2017. There were no known reports of civilian harm.

According to @demolinari and @NokhbaHadramout, the US strike targeted the militants as they were travelling on a motorbike, killing both. Reuters correspondent Mohammed Ghobari (@MohammedGhobari), however, suggested that the strike targeted a car.

Academic Dr Elizabeth Kendall also suggested that there had been local reports of a drone strike against a motorcycle in the area that had killed two, but did not assign responsibility to the US.

The incident was first reported on November 10, 2017 at 7:38 pm by @demolinari.

Summary

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

Sources (5) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (4) [ collapse]

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention a vehicle being struck in the vicinity of Jabal Akad (جبل عكد), east of Al Ayn (العين), in the Lawdar (لودر) district. Due to limited satellite imagery and information available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further. The generic coordinates of Jabal Akad are: 13.818682, 45.937657.

US Forces Assessment:

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

Summary

  • Strike status
    Likely strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    No
  • Civilians reported killed
    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 (5) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USYEMTr210

Incident date

August 31, 2019

Location

مارب, Ma'rib, Yemen

Geolocation

15.508089, 45.562719 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Province/governorate level. Continue to map

Airwars assessment

At least five US drone strikes reportedly targeted alleged “terrorist” militants, variously alleged to be AQAP or ISIS-affiliated, in the Marib governorate Third Regional Military Command area of the pro-government military, just after midnight on August 31st 2019, according to multiple social media sources. One source, however, instead alleged that Emirati artillery shelling had targeted the area, killing a military commander. There were no known associated reports of civilian harm.

Several sources, including @adnanalaegm, reported from around 02.15am that the strikes destroyed “terrorist” training camps and weapons stores.  Several sources included images, though reverse image searches showed that all but one, posted by sources including @Younis_Hussein_, were generic pictures that pre-dated the allegation.

Twitter user @abdullah_Omrrr reported, slightly earlier than the other allegations, that Major General Abdul Rab Al-Shadadi had been killed by Emirati shelling of the Marib Third Regional Military Command. Given this, the event has been assessed as contested, with at least one alleged military death.

The reported action came in the aftermath of an Emirati air campaign in southern Yemen from August 28th to August 29th 2019, apparently in support of secessionist militias, which reportedly focused on Aden and the Abyan governorate.  In a statement, the Emirati foreign ministry said that strikes targeted “terrorist militias”, though others indicated that the strikes were targeting the pro-government Yemeni military.  AQAP militants have been previously reported to have fought alongside, and sometimes integrated into, Yemeni government forces.

On October 4th 2019, a US Central Command spokesperson told New America that no US military strikes had been conducted in Yemen since June 24th 2019. It is, however, possible that an undeclared strike was conducted by the CIA, or was part of a clandestine US military action.

The incident occured around midnight.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Contested strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Artillery, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    No
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Suspected attackers
    US Forces, United Arab Emirates Military
  • Suspected targets
    Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), ISIS - Yemen
  • Belligerents reported killed
    1

Sources (27) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (4) [ collapse]

  • All other known alleged pictures of the strike could be found to pre-date the allegation through a reverse image search (@abowaheep1, August 31st 2019)
  • One source posted an alleged video of the strike.

Geolocation notes (1) [ collapse]

Reports of the incident mention the Ma’rib (مارب) governorate, for which the generic coordinates are: 15.508089, 45.562719. Due to limited satellite imagery and information available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further.

  • Reports of the incident mention the Ma’rib (مارب) governorate.

    Imagery:
    Google Earth

US Forces Assessment:

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

Original strike reports

US Forces

On October 4, 2019, United States Central Command (CENTCOM) replied to an email inquiry from New America confirming that “the last strike conducted by CENTCOM in Yemen was 24 June.” Per that statement, there were no CENTCOM strikes in Yemen in September 2019.

The lack of strikes in September makes it more than three months since the last U.S. military counterterrorism strike in Yemen, according to New America’s research. However, it is possible that the United States has conducted covert non-military strikes, and in recent years there have been a small number of strikes attributed by media reports to the United States that CENTCOM has denied conducting

United Arab Emirates Military Assessment:

  • Suspected belligerent
    United Arab Emirates Military
  • United Arab Emirates Military position on incident
    Not yet assessed

Summary

  • Strike status
    Contested strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Artillery, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    No
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Suspected attackers
    US Forces, United Arab Emirates Military
  • Suspected targets
    Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), ISIS - Yemen
  • Belligerents reported killed
    1

Sources (27) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USYEMTr087

Incident date

June 30, 2020

Location

Southern Yemen, Yemen

Airwars assessment

A US drone strike killed two suspected AQAP militants in southern Yemen late on June 30th 2017, residents and local sources told Reuters. No other known sources reported a strike at that time, and there were no associated reports of civilian harm.

According to Reuters, “Another suspected U.S. drone strike killed two men believed to be al Qaeda militants in southern Yemen late on Friday, residents and local sources said.”

The Reuters report also detailed a later strike on July 1st, in Abyan governorate (USYEMTr087).

The incident occured during the night.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Single source claim
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    No
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Suspected attacker
    US Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP)
  • Belligerents reported killed
    2

Sources (1) [ collapse]

US Forces Assessment:

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

Summary

  • Strike status
    Single source claim
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    No
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Suspected attacker
    US Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP)
  • Belligerents reported killed
    2

Sources (1) [ collapse]