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

USYEMTr173

Incident date

July 6, 2018

Location

بيحان, Baihan, Shabwa, Yemen

Geolocation

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

Airwars assessment

Up to seven alleged AQAP militants were reportedly killed by a US drone strike in the Baihan district of Shabwa governorate, on July 6th 2018. There were no known associated reports of civilian harm.

A security official told AFP that a US drone had targeted a car driving along a side road in the area, killing seven suspected AQAP fighters. Tribal and local leaders reported the same, according to Associated Press, @horoofonline, and others. Twitter user @aseel_sarih, however, indicated that the strike had killed five.

It is possible that some listed sources instead referred to an earlier alleged US drone strike on July 4th 2018, also in Shabwa (USYEMTr172).

However, US Central Command told the Bureau of Investigative Journalism on July 11th that it had not conducted any strikes in Yemen so far in that month. And in an August 30th press release of recent actions in Yemen, CENTCOM made no mention of this date. This does not preclude either a CIA action, or a strike by the Saudi-led Coalition.

The local time of the incident is unknown.

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

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
    5–7

Sources (14) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (2) [ collapse]

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
    5–7

Sources (14) [ 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

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.

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

Summary

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

Sources (21) [ collapse]

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

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
  • 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
    4–8

Sources (21) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USYEMTr047

Incident date

March 28–29, 2017

Location

القوز, Al Quoz, Abyan, Yemen

Geolocation

13.88921, 46.14929 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Village level. Continue to map

Airwars assessment

Multiple sources reported that a US drone strike took place in Al Quoz village, in the Mudiyah district of Abyan governorate, overnight from March 28th to March 29th, killing four alleged AQAP militants in a vehicle. There are no known associated reports of civilian harm.

According to Reuters, local residents said that the strike took place at around midnight, leaving the vehicle burning with four bodies inside. News agency AFP and local- language Twitter sources reported that two missiles were fired at the vehicle from a suspected US drone.

This reported event took place amid a dramatic intensification of US operations against AQAP beginning in early March 2017. On April 3rd, Pentagon spokesperson Captain Jeff Davis said that, from February 28th to the final week of March, 50 US airstrikes were conducted in Yemen.

The incident occured around midnight.

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention a vehicle being struck in the village of Al Qouz (القوز), for which the coordinates are: 13.88921, 46.14929. Due to limited satellite imagery and information available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Likely 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 attacker
    US Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP)
  • Belligerents reported killed
    4

Sources (18) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (5) [ collapse]

  • Four alleged AQAP militants were reportedly killed in a US drone strike in Al-Quoz village. After the strike, AQAP reportedly released these photos of the casualties (@bjoernstritzel, 31st March 2017)
  • Four alleged AQAP militants were reportedly killed in a US drone strike in Al-Quoz village. After the strike, AQAP reportedly released these photos of the casualties (@bjoernstritzel, 31st March 2017)
  • Four alleged AQAP militants were reportedly killed in a US drone strike in Al-Quoz village. After the strike, AQAP reportedly released these photos of the casualties (@bjoernstritzel, 31st March 2017)
  • Four alleged AQAP militants were reportedly killed in a US drone strike in Al-Quoz village. After the strike, AQAP reportedly released these photos of the casualties (@bjoernstritzel, 31st March 2017)

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, Artillery, 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
    4

Sources (18) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USYEMTr085

Incident date

May 23, 2017

Location

البديع, Al Buday, Al Bayda, Yemen

Geolocation

14.43565, 45.18276 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Village level. Continue to map

Airwars assessment

US airstrikes reportedly targeted alleged AQAP militants in the Badi Al Awad district of Bayda governorate at around 3am on May 23rd 2017. There were no known associated reports of civilian harm.

Several sources, including Yemeni security officials spoken with by the Associated Press, suggested that actions by US drones and helicopter gunships took place in the area, with some indicating that multiple “residential” houses were burned or destroyed in the strikes. Some local language social-media sources, including @shfinews, mentioned four “raids” in the area.

Some sources including Sky News Arabia reported that the strikes took place at around 3am in the morning. One local language Twitter source reported on May 23rd that a drone strike in Al Bayda had killed two AQAP leaders, though the exact location, timing, and alleged belligerent of that alleged strike was unclear. Another Twitter source. @FuadRajeh, suggested that “no casualties were reported from raids in Bayda”. Airwars has therefore assessed that between zero and two militants were reportedly killed in this strike.

According to Al Khabar Now, there were unconfirmed reports that strikes were followed by a troop landing. “Clashes” in Bayda were also mentioned by sources cited in reporting by Akhbaralaan, as well as some local-language social-media sources. It is possible that these reports instead reflected a confirmed US special forces operation in Marib at around the same time (USYEMTr084-C).

The incident occured at 03:00:00 local time.

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention the village of Al Buday (البديع), within the area occupied by the Al Awad (آل عواض) tribe, for which the generic coordinates are: 14.43565, 45.18276. Due to limited satellite imagery and information available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further

Summary

  • Strike status
    Likely strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Counter-Terrorism Action (Ground), Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    No
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Causes of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions, Small arms and light weapons
  • Suspected attacker
    US Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP)
  • Belligerents reported killed
    0–2

Sources (38) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (4) [ collapse]

US Forces Assessment:

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

Summary

  • Strike status
    Likely strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Counter-Terrorism Action (Ground), Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    No
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Causes of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions, Small arms and light weapons
  • Suspected attacker
    US Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP)
  • Belligerents reported killed
    0–2

Sources (38) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USYEMTr193

Incident date

March 26, 2019

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 took place in Bayda governorate on March 26th 2019, a US Central Command spokesperson later told New America. In a separate press release, US Central Command stated that all March 2019 strikes targeted AQAP.

There were no other known local reports of a strike on that day according to our Arabic-language researchers, nor was there any available information on casualties.

The local time of the incident is unknown.

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

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 (6) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (1) [ collapse]

US Forces Assessment:

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

Original strike reports

US Forces

Our Yemen strikes data has been updated for individualized dates after CENTCOM responded to an inquiry on the eight strikes in 2019. Strikes were as follows: 1/1, 1/21, 3/25, 3/25, 3/26, 3/28, 3/29, and 3/29. All but 1/1 in al Bayda'

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 (6) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USYEMTr093

Incident date

July 30, 2017

Location

كوكب, Kawkab, Abyan, Yemen

Geolocation

13.92494, 46.18719 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Village level. Continue to map

Airwars assessment

A US drone strike reportedly targeted at least one alleged AQAP militant, described as a leadership figure, near Kawkab village, in the Mudiyah district of Abyan governorate, on the evening of July 30th 2017. There were no known associated reports of civilian harm.

According to @demolinari, the strike targeted the vehicle of a “local AQAP leader” near to the village. Local residents told Al Rai Press that an initial strike missed the car, which was then destroyed by a second missile.

Two social media sources, @saleh_binali and @nasryemen0086, suggested that at least one person was injured in the strike. The former indicated that a “local source” was injured in a strike against a car, while the latter simply indicated that it had “caused injuries”. Given these reports, Airwars has assessed that at least one, and as many as two, militants were injured in the strike.

The incident occured in the evening.

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention the village of Kawkab (كوكب), east of Mudiyah (موديه) town, for which the generic coordinates are: 13.92494, 46.18719. Due to limited satellite imagery and information available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further.

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 injured
    1–2

Sources (9) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (2) [ collapse]

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 injured
    1–2

Sources (9) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USYEM043-B

Incident date

October 27, 2011

Location

شقرة, Shaqra, Abyan, Yemen

Geolocation

13.356639, 45.699426 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Town level. Continue to map

Airwars assessment

Three militants, reportedly members of Al Qaeda, were killed and six more wounded in a suspected US airstrike or drone strike on Shaqra, east of Zinjibar, on October 27th, 2011, sources said. There are currently no known reports of civilian harm.

The strike reportedly hit alleged militants in Shaqra, east of Zinjibar, the provincial capital of Abyan in southern Yemen. According to Reuters, the town had been seized by Islamists in August of the same year, a few months before the strike, and a local official told AFP that “the militant group has been carrying out military training exercises in the area, adding that near-by residents had reported sounds of gunfire and explosions in recent days”. Local officials told Reuters that the strike killed three Al Qaeda fighters and injured six.

Alarabiya News also reported that the strike killed three Al Qaeda fighters and wounded six. The source reported that the Yemeni government “denied direct U.S. involvement in the fight against Al Qaeda’s Yemen branch,” but that local residents and officials insisted that U.S. drones regularly carry out strikes in the area. @Wassm3, @4adencom, and @yosfgfx reported that 3 Al Qaeda fighters were killed by an “American” strike.

@AdenLang reported that the strike impacted the “poultry area” in Shaqra.

None of the sources reported that civilians were harmed. At least one source referred to “an unmanned aircraft, likely American” being used to carry out the strike.

The local time of the incident is unknown.

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention the village of Shaqra (شقرة), for which the generic coordinates are: 13.356639, 45.699426. Due to limited satellite imagery and information available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Likely strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian infrastructure
    Agriculture
  • 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
  • Belligerents reported injured
    6

Sources (8) [ collapse]

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 infrastructure
    Agriculture
  • 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
  • Belligerents reported injured
    6

Sources (8) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USYEM071-B

Incident date

April 30, 2012

Location

زنجبار‎, Zinjibar, Abyan, Yemen

Geolocation

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

Airwars assessment

An alleged US airstrike struck a vehicle killing at least three supposed Al Qaeda fighters around Zinjibar in Abyan Province on April 30, 2012. At the moment, there are no reports of civilian harm.

The Associated Press was informed by a Yemeni military official that the airstrike was one of many that took place that day.

The lowest estimate was provided by the Associated Press, putting the number killed at three. CNN provides the highest death count estimates of 7 though it groups this number with another attack in Lawder, which reportedly resulted in four militants killed.

On June 20th, a jihadist website reported that Muhammad Fazi al Harasheh, aka Abu Hammam al Zarqawi, had died in a drone strike on a vehicle. Al Zarqawi was the nephew of former al Qaeda in Iraq leader Abu Musab al Zarqawi, killed by the US in 2006. Initial reports suggested he had been killed by a landmine.

Although the precise date of his death is unknown, the April 30th strikes appear to most closely match the description. The Long War Journal reported a militant statement as saying: “They were unable to kill him in the battles, so they sent spies to guide them to him. A drone came to bomb the car in which he and one of the brother were riding, and so his pure soul went to its maker.” With this information, it is unclear whether al Zarqawi was killed in this incident or another incident that occurred on the same day (USYEM070-B), since he was known to operate in Abyan province which Zinjibar and Lawder are both a part of.

The local time of the incident is unknown.

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident only mention the town of Zinjibar (زنجبار‎), in the governorate Abyan (أبين‎). The generic coordinates for the town of Zinjibar (زنجبار‎) are: 13.129059, 45.380422. Due to limited information and satellite imagery available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further.

Summary

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

Sources (3) [ collapse]

US Forces Assessment:

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

Summary

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

Sources (3) [ collapse]