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

USYEMTr102-C

Incident date

September 14, 2017

Location

القوز, Al Qawz junction, Abyan, Yemen

Geolocation

13.908586, 46.137140 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Street level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Street

Airwars assessment

A US drone strike killed at least two alleged AQAP militants on a motorcycle at Al Qawz junction, Mudiyah district of Abyan governorate, on the night of September 14th 2017. However it was also reported that a passing vehicle was damaged, causing civilian injuries.

More than three years later, in response to Airwars publishing its Yemen findings, CENTCOM confirmed that two civilians had been injured in the event.

A local security official and residents told Reuters at the time that three suspected militants were killed in the strike.  According to one source, this was also reported to Xinhua, though the original Xinhua report could not be found.

One Twitter source, @demolinari, instead suggested that two militants were killed in the strike, and named those killed as local AQAP leader Ali Saleh Al-Buhaith Al-Fathani and Haritha Al-Waqari.

@demolinari also reported that a passing vehicle was damaged, causing injuries.  As such, Airwars has assessed that at least one civilian was reportedly injured in the strike.

On November 5th 2020, CENTCOM confirmed that it had injured two civilians in this incident, noting that “Of the information AirWars provided, one strike on September 14, 2017, was assessed to have caused  injuries to two civilians.”

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

The incident occured during the night.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Civilians reported injured
    2
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Confirmed
    A specific belligerent has accepted responsibility for civilian harm.
  • Known attacker
    US Forces
  • Known target
    Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP)
  • Belligerents reported killed
    2–3

Sources (8) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (5) [ collapse]

  • 'Ali Saleh al-Fathani along with his companions killed in a US airstrike in Abyan. They were in a motorcycle in the al-Qoz in eastern Moudiya'
  • According to one Twitter source, alleged AQAP militant Harithah al-Waqari was one of those killed in a reported US drone strike on September 14th 2017 in Abyan (@demolinari, September 16th 2017).
  • According to one Twitter source, alleged AQAP leader Ali Al-Buhaith was one of those killed in a reported US drone strike on September 14th 2017 in Abyan (@demolinari, September 16th 2017).

Geolocation notes (1) [ collapse]

Reports of the incident mention a vehicle being struck at the junction near Al Qawz (القوز) village, east of Mudiyah (موديه). Due to limited satellite imagery and information available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further. The generic coordinates for the Al Qawz junction are: 13.908586, 46.137140.

  • Reports of the incident mention a vehicle being struck at the junction near Al Qawz (القوز) village, east of Mudiyah (موديه).

    Imagery:
    Google Earth

US Forces Assessment:

  • Known belligerent
    US Forces
  • US Forces position on incident
    Credible / Substantiated
    The investigation assessed that although all feasible precautions were taken and the decision to strike complied with the law of armed conflict, unintended civilian casualties regrettably occurred.
  • Given reason for civilian harm
    No reason given
    Airwars’ assessment of belligerent’s civilian casualty statement
  • Initial Airwars grading
    Confirmed
  • Civilian deaths conceded
    None
  • Civilian injuries conceded
    2

Civilian casualty statements

US Forces
  • Nov 5, 2020
  • 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.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Civilians reported injured
    2
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Confirmed
    A specific belligerent has accepted responsibility for civilian harm.
  • Known attacker
    US Forces
  • Known target
    Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP)
  • Belligerents reported killed
    2–3

Sources (8) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USYEMTr116-C

Incident date

November 12, 2017

Location

وادي الحيات, Wadi Al Hayat, Al Bayda, Yemen

Geolocation

14.529359983, 44.855200999 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Neighbourhood/area level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Neighbourhood/area

Airwars assessment

A US Central Command spokesperson told reporters that a strike had killed two alleged ISIS militants in Bayda governorate on November 12th 2017. This confirmed earlier reports that a US drone strike in the Dhi Kalib area of Qayfa had killed two at noon on that date. Two sources suggested that one of those killed in the strike was a civilian.

According to Yemen Shabab Net, the strike killed civilian Ahmed Muhammad Ahmed al-Azraq Abu Sureima, who “happened to be in the area” when a drone targeted and killed an ISIS militant in Wadi Al Hayat, north of Dhi Kalb. Aden News also reported this, though the article quoted a “media source”, and appeared to be derivative of the Yemen Shabab report. Given this, the allegation of civilian harm has been assessed by Airwars as “weak”.

One Twitter source, @demolinari, suggested that the strike targeted a car near Dhi Kalb village, killing two “suspected ISIS militants”. Other sources simply reported that two were killed in the strike, without providing further information.

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

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

The incident occured around midday.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    1
  • (1 man)
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Weak
    Single source claim, though sometimes featuring significant information.
  • Known attacker
    US Forces
  • Known target
    ISIS - Yemen
  • Belligerents reported killed
    1–2

Sources (9) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (3) [ collapse]

  • According to one source, Yemen Shabab Net, the US strike killed one alleged ISIS militant and one nearby civilian near Dhi Kalb. Other sources, and CENTCOM, suggested that both of those killed were ISIS militants (@demolinari, November 13th 2017)

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention Wadi Al Hayat (وادي الحيات), allegedly north of Dhi Kalib (ذي كالب) village, in the Al Quraishyah (القريشيه) district. Due to limited satellite imagery and information available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further. The generic coordinates for Dhi Kalib are: 14.529359983, 44.855200999.

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.
  • 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

We conducted three strikes against ISIS in al-Bayda Governorate, Yemen Nov. 10-12.
· 10 Nov – 1 strike – 2 EKIA
· 11 Nov – 1 strike – 1 EKIA
· 12 Nov – 1 strike – 2 EKIA

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    1
  • (1 man)
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Weak
    Single source claim, though sometimes featuring significant information.
  • Known attacker
    US Forces
  • Known target
    ISIS - Yemen
  • Belligerents reported killed
    1–2

Sources (9) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USYEMTr141-C

Incident date

January 26–27, 2018

Location

المصينعه, Al Mushainaah, Shabwa, Yemen

Geolocation

14.351505, 46.762544 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Village level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Village

Airwars assessment

Five civilians and two off duty Yemen soldiers from two local families, all men, were reportedly killed by a US drone strike in or near Al Mushainaah village, in the Saeed district of Shabwa governorate, at around midnight between January 26th-27th 2018. At the time of the strike, the men were reportedly searching for a missing 14-year old boy who was reportedly visiting Al-Qaeda militants.

Mwatana for Human Rights named the men killed as Saleh Muhammad Bin Olaywah (49 years old), Ziyad Saleh Muhammad Bin Olaywah (20 years old), Khalid Faraj Muhammad Bin Olaywah (37 years old), Ali Faraj Muhammad Bin Olaywah (34 years old), Nabil Salem Ba’adlan (40 years old), Mubarak Muhammad Saleh Hudaij (41 years old), and Najeeb Muhammad Saleh Lasma’ (25 years old). Mwatana found “no credible indication” that any of those killed were associated with any armed groups.

According to reporting by Associated Press, Saleh Muhammad Bin Olaywah’s son, 14-year old Abdullah, had gone with a friend to an AQAP camp in the mountains near Al-Masna’ah, after being told that the group was giving away free motorcycles. Speaking later with PBS Frontline, Abdullah said that “AQAP were messaging me and messaging my friends… They said, ‘Don’t worry, nothing will happen to you.’ So we went, although I didn’t really want to.”

Saleh, a taxi driver, reportedly went with his eldest son, Ziyad, and his brother-in-law, Nabil, to search for his younger son in Ataq.  They were later joined by two of Saleh’s nephews, Ali and Khalid. In the search, Saleh also enlisted the help of someone he knew from the al-Tolsi family, Mubarak, a beekeeper who knew the Al Mushainaah area. Mubarak’s nephew, Najeeb, a geology student, also joined the group.

The seven men were reportedly killed as they waited in a car at the foot of the mountains, in the Sar’ area, while a lookout took a message to the AQAP camp.  Sources indicated that two missiles from a drone targeted the vehicle. Ahmad Ali Al Arib Al Tawsali, a relative, told Mwatana that “It was a direct hit, killing everyone that was in the car, and their bodies were turned into nothing more than burnt body parts”.

Abdullah’s uncle, Ali Saleh, told PBS Frontline that Ziyad and Nabil were both members of the Yemeni army. “They were fighting the Houthis with no relationship to any illegal or terrorist organizations”, Ali said.  He also told PBS Frontline that he was now the sole provider for over thirty family members, and wanted the US to pay compensation for the strike.

A spokesperson for US Central Command later confirmed to Long War Journal that a strike had targeted AQAP in Shabwa on January 26th, but gave no further information on casualties or exact location.  There were no other known reports of strikes in Shabwa on that day.

Other sources, including Xinhua and AFP, suggested that those killed were AQAP militants, according to anonymous Yemeni officials.

Protests took place in Ataq in Shabwa in response to the strike. Al Jazeera reported that Saleh al-Aishi al-Ateeqi, another relative, “blamed the Arab coalition at war with Yemen for the deaths, saying it was responsible for the country’s airspace and protecting civilian lives”.

Reprieve shared their findings on this strike with Airwars, similarly indicating that seven had died in the strike.

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.”

In its major report Death from the Sky, Yemen human rights group Mwatana insisted none of those killed had links to either Al Qaeda or ISIS, based on multiple interviews with relatives and officials.

One man who lost two relatives in the attack noted: “I woke everyone in the house with the worst kind of news imaginable. We got in the car and went off to see what had happened. I cannot forget the moment when I saw the two cars carrying the bodies. I asked to see them and I wish I had not. Many of them were disfigured and torn to pieces. I hugged them and sobbed until people removed me from the car.”

Mwatana also noted in its report that “Five days after the air strike killed the seven men, the families called for a protest in front of Ataq police station. Interviewees said that more than 150 people joined the protest, calling on the local authorities, the government, Security Council member states and the US government to look into the strike, and calling on the US to acknowledge responsibility for the strike.”

The incident occured around midnight.

The victims were named as:

Family members (5)

Family members (2)

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    5 – 7
  • (7 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
  • Known target
    Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP)
  • Belligerents reported killed
    7

Sources (26) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (27) [ collapse]

  • Ziyad Olaywah, the eldest son of Saleh, was reportedly one of those killed in the strike. According to some sources, he was a member of the Yemeni army. (AP, November 14th 2018)
  • Najeeb Lasma', a geology student, was reportedly one of those killed in the strike (AP, November 14th 2018)
  • The family of those killed keep fragments of the missiles which allegedly killed seven civilians on January 26th 2018, which appears to show that they were of US manufacture (AP, November 14th 2018)
  • Abdullah Saleh Olwayah (right) with his father, Saleh Olwayah, in Mukalla. Saleh was reportedly killed while out searching for his son. (AP, November 14th 2018)
  • Relatives told AP that they had gathered these letters from Yemeni city council chiefs to prove that those killed were not AQAP members (AP, November 14th 2018)
  • Abdullah Saleh Olaywah reportedly left his village when AQAP militants promised free motorcycles (AP, November 14th 2018)
  • The daughters of Khaled Olaywah, one of those reportedly killed in the strike (AP, November 14th 2018)
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    Relatives provided AP with this image of the interior of the car after the strike (AP, November 14th 2018)
  • Ali Olaywah, the nephew of Saleh, was reportedly one of those killed in the strike (AP, November 14th 2018)
  • The strike reportedly killed all seven men as they waited in a car at the foot of the mountains near Al-Mosna'a (AP, November 14th 2018)
  • Khaled Olaywah, the nephew of Saleh, was reportedly one of those killed in the strike (AP, November 14th 2018)
  • Mubarek Hudaij, a beekeeper, was reportedly one of those killed in the strike. He and his nephew, Najeeb, joined the search for Abdullah when Saleh called on them to help. (AP, November 14th 2018)
  • Saleh Olaywah, a taxi driver, was reportedly killed when he went searching for his son, Abdullah (AP, November 14th 2018)
  • Nabil Ba’adlan, the brother-in-law of Saleh, was one of those reportedly killed in the strike. According to some sources, he was a member of the Yemeni army. (AP, November 14th 2018)
  • A map, produced by AP, shows the location of Al-Shaaba, the family's home village, and Al Masna’ah, the location of the strike. The map shows the relative locations of Saleh and Abdullah when the latter texted the former that he was with AQAP militants. (AP, November 14th 2018)
  • Weapon remnants found after the attack, which a weapon expert identified as being from an AGM-114 Hellfire missile. Photo received from a relative. (via Mwatana)
  • The car destroyed in the January 2018 air strike in Shabwah governorate, Yemen. Photo received from a relative. (Via Mwatana)
  • Letter from Taxi Drivers’ Syndicate stating that Saleh Mohammad bin Alawiya was working for them until he died in January 2018. Photo taken by a Mwatana researcher.
  • Letter from 30th November School stating Khaled Faraj Mohammad bin Alawiya was working for them until he died in January 2018. Photo taken by a Mwatana researcher.
  • Letter from Ministry of Oil and Minerals stating Ali Faraj Mohammad bin Alawiya worked with them and asking the Shabwah Police Department to release his salary. Via Mwatana
  • Letter from Shabwah Ministry of Local Administration stating the professions of the seven men killed in the strike, and noting that they had no affiliation with extremist groups. Photo taken by a Mwatana researcher
  • Letter from 21 Mechanized Brigade Commander stating Ziad Saleh Mohammad bin Alawiya and Nabil Salem Baadalan were both members of the brigade and were not affiliated with extremist groups. Photo taken by a Mwatana researcher.
  • Letter from Aden University Faculty of Oil and Minerals confirming that Najib Mohammad Saleh Lasmeh was a student. Photo taken by a Mwatana researcher.

Geolocation notes

Reports on the incident mention the village of Al Mushainaah ( المصينعه) for which the generic coordinates are: 14.351505, 46.762544.  Due to limited satellite imagery and information available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further.

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
    No reason given
  • Civilian deaths conceded
    None
  • Civilian injuries conceded
    None

Civilian casualty statements

US Forces
  • Nov 5, 2020
  • Apr 29, 2019
  • 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: 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.

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

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    5 – 7
  • (7 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
  • Known target
    Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP)
  • Belligerents reported killed
    7

Sources (26) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USYEMTr025-C

Incident date

March 2–3, 2017

Location

وادي يشبم, Yashbum Valley, Shabwa, Yemen

Geolocation

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

Geolocation accuracy

Village

Airwars assessment

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The incident occured during the night.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Likely strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Counter-Terrorism Action (Ground)
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    10 – 14
  • (4 children4 women)
  • Civilians reported injured
    4
  • Causes of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions, Small arms and light weapons
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Fair
    Reported by two or more credible sources, with likely or confirmed near actions by a belligerent.
  • Suspected attacker
    US Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP)
  • Belligerents reported killed
    7–11

Sources (62) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (3) [ collapse]

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

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention the village of Wadi Yashbum (وادي يشبم), for which the coordinates are: 14.304795, 46.934570. Due to limited satellite imagery and information available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further.

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, Counter-Terrorism Action (Ground)
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    10 – 14
  • (4 children4 women)
  • Civilians reported injured
    4
  • Causes of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions, Small arms and light weapons
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Fair
    Reported by two or more credible sources, with likely or confirmed near actions by a belligerent.
  • Suspected attacker
    US Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP)
  • Belligerents reported killed
    7–11

Sources (62) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USYEMTr120-C

Incident date

November 23, 2017

Location

الأحماص او محاص , يكلاء, Al Ahmas or Mahhas area, Yakla, Al Bayda, Yemen

Geolocation

14.499999936, 45.09999993 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Village level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Village

Airwars assessment

Two civilians, including a 14-year old boy, were killed in a US drone strike in Yakla, in the Qayfa area of Bayda governorate, on the evening of November 23rd 2017, according to several reports.

In an email to the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, a US Central Command spokesperson confirmed that a strike took place in Bayda on the 23rd, and said that two ISIS “terrorists” were killed. Since there were no other known reports of a strike on that day, this event is treated as declared. No local sources reported any belligerent casualties, despite the US claims.

Three news sources – Yemen Shabab, Huna Radaa, and Aden News – named those killed as 25-year old Ahmed Salem Mabkhout Al-Ameri, and 14-year old Muhammad Musaad Abbad al-Bagh, and indicated that they were targeted by a US drone while on a motorbike in the Al Ahmas area of Yakla.

According to Alharf28, a local government source told Anatolia Agency that the civilians were working on a farm in the area, and had no ties to extremist groups. The original Anatolia report could not be found.  Aden News also reported that those killed were farmers, according to locals, and added that they were returning from prayers at the time.

Iona Craig, a reporter, tweeted that Al-Ameri was the nephew of Sheikh Aziz al-Ameri, who had reportedly lost 20 family members in a January 2017 US raid, also in Yakla.

Gulf News reported, in an article that appears to have been updated on November 28th 2017, that five civilians, “mainly farmers”, were killed in the course of “three separate air strikes” in the Qayfa area during that week. This reported civilian casualty event likely accounts for at least one of the reported strikes, alongside event USYEMTr122-C.

Gulf News reported that recent US drone strikes in the area had “displaced residents and caused panic”. “The air strikes have caused great panic among civilians,” the activist told Gulf News. “The targeted areas have no functioning schools or hospitals.”

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

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

In March 2021 Mwatana published a comprehensive review of this event, which it said was based on in depth interviews, site visits, and imagery and munitions analysis. The study also found that two civilians had died. It noted: “On the day of the strike, Ahmed and Mohammed were at Ahmed’s qat farm. They were both picking qat from the farm to sell. At around 5:30 in the evening, Ahmed and Mohammed were preparing to leave the farm on Mohammed’s motorbike when the strike occurred. Mohammed’s mother was the first to reach her son. Mohammed and Ahmed’s bodies were still aflame when she reached the site.”

The incident occured at approximately 5:30 pm local time.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    2
  • (1 child1 man)
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Fair
    Reported by two or more credible sources, with likely or confirmed near actions by a belligerent.
  • Known attacker
    US Forces
  • Known target
    ISIS - Yemen
  • Belligerents reported killed
    2

Sources (11) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (9) [ collapse]

  • Weapon remnants found after the attack, which a weapons expert identified as likely parts of an AGM-114 Hellfire missile. Video received from a relative. Via Mwatana
  • Weapon remnants found after the attack, which a weapons expert identified as likely parts of an AGM-114 Hellfire missile. Video received from a relative. Via Mwatana
  • Weapon remnants found after the attack, which a weapons expert identified as likely parts of an AGM-114 Hellfire missile. Video received from a relative. Via Mwatana
  • Weapon remnants found after the attack, which a weapons expert identified as likely parts of an AGM-114 Hellfire missile. Video received from a relative. Via Mwatana
  • Weapon remnants found after the attack, which a weapons expert identified as likely parts of an AGM-114 Hellfire missile. Video received from a relative. Via Mwatana
  • The motorbike that was carrying Ahmed and Mohammed at the time of the strike, found at the location of the November 23, 2017 US air strike. Photo received from a relative. Via Mwatana.
  • Mohammed’s school certificate, showing him to be in the third grade during the 2010-2011 school year, sent to Mwatana by Mohammed’s parents. Via Mwatana

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention a vehicle being struck in the Al Ahmas (الأحماص) or Mahhas (محاص) area, allegedly in or in the vicinity of Yakla (يكلاء) village. Due to limited satellite imagery and information available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further. The generic coordinates for Yakla are: 14.499999936, 45.09999993.

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.
  • 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

Jess,

This is the most current CENTCOM information on strikes against AQAP and ISIS in Yemen.

· One strike against ISIS in al-Bayda Governorate, Yemen, Nov. 26. killing three terrorists.
· One strike against AQAP in Shabwah Governorate, Yemen, Nov. 25 killing seven terrorists.
· One strike against ISIS in al-Bayda Governorate, Yemen, Nov. 23, killing two terrorists.
· Two strikes against AQAP in al-Bayda Governorate, Yemen, Nov. 19-20. The strikes killed two AQAP terrorists Nov. 19 and five terrorists on Nov 20.

Let me know if you have any further questions.

MAJ Brown
CENTCOM Media Operations

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    2
  • (1 child1 man)
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Fair
    Reported by two or more credible sources, with likely or confirmed near actions by a belligerent.
  • Known attacker
    US Forces
  • Known target
    ISIS - Yemen
  • Belligerents reported killed
    2

Sources (11) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USYEMTr143-C

Incident date

January 29, 2018

Location

القمعلة, Al Qam`alah, Bayda, Yemen

Geolocation

14.06654, 45.50265 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Village level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Village

Airwars assessment

Two people, including a 14-year old boy, were reportedly killed by a US drone strike in Al Qam`alah, in the Dhi Naem area of Bayda governorate, on January 29th 2018. In a later email to the Long War Journal, a US Central Command spokesperson stated that a strike had targeted AQAP in Bayda on January 29th. Since there were no other known reported strikes in Bayda on that day, this event is treated as declared.

Sources, including Al-Arabi and Al-Masdar Online, named those killed as Yahia Abdullah al-Hassbi and Abdul Aziz Muhammad Al-Mashriqi. Associated Press later reported that 14-year old Yahia was killed as he tended goats seven kilometres from a checkpoint that AQAP had previously tried to seize. Other sources also indicated that a child had died in the strike. According to relatives and three local human rights workers, a passing construction worker, Al-Mashriqi, was also killed in the strike.

Other sources, however, suggested that the one or both of the individuals killed in the strike were members of the Yemeni government army and/or were AQAP militants.  According to Al-Arabi, sources indicated that both Yahia and Abdul were AQAP members fighting against the Houthis in the area, and said that their tribe, the Al Omar, had disavowed them three years previously. AQAP militants have been previously reported to have fought alongside pro-Hadi forces.

A local source told Al-Masdar Online that the strike, which targeted a “resistance point” in the Al-Maqqa area, had killed two resistance elements named as Yahia and Abdul, and had wounded others. The source also said that continued drone flights prevented paramedics from reaching the wounded, for fear of follow-up strikes.

A pro-government commander, Mohamed al-Ghunaimi, told Anatolia Agency that the two killed were pro-government fighters.  “We are sure the Americans conducted the air strike. They always bomb us and accuse us of being Al-Qaeda,” he said.

Accounting for these conflicting reports, Airwars has assessed that there were reports of between one and two civilian deaths, and between one and two militant deaths. At least two combatants were reportedly injured in the strike.

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 local time of the incident is unknown.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    1 – 2
  • (1 child1 man)
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Fair
    Reported by two or more credible sources, with likely or confirmed near actions by a belligerent.
  • Known attacker
    US Forces
  • Known target
    Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP)
  • Belligerents reported killed
    1–2
  • Belligerents reported injured
    2

Sources (15) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (6) [ collapse]

  • A fragment of the missile that reportedly killed Yahia Al-Hassbi (AP, November 14th 2018)
  • A fragment of the missile that reportedly killed Yahia Al-Hassbi (AP, November 14th 2018)
  • Fourteen-year-old Yahia al-Hassbi was reportedly killed in the US strike. Several sources indicated that he was killed while tending to goats, though some instead reported that he was a combatant. (AP, November 14th 2018)
  • Abdul Aziz Muhammad Al-Mashriqi was reportedly killed in the strike. Some sources suggested that he was a civilian construction worker, while others indicated that he was an active combatant (AP, November 14th 2018)

Geolocation notes

Reports on the incident mention the village of Al Qam`alah (القمعلة) for which the generic coordinates are: 14.06654,45.50265. Due to limited satellite imagery and information available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further.

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
    No reason given
  • Civilian deaths conceded
    None
  • Civilian injuries conceded
    None

Civilian casualty statements

US Forces
  • Nov 5, 2020
  • Apr 29, 2019
  • 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: 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
    1 – 2
  • (1 child1 man)
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Fair
    Reported by two or more credible sources, with likely or confirmed near actions by a belligerent.
  • Known attacker
    US Forces
  • Known target
    Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP)
  • Belligerents reported killed
    1–2
  • Belligerents reported injured
    2

Sources (15) [ 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

USYEMTr122-C

Incident date

November 26, 2017

Location

قيفه, Qifah, Al Bayda, Yemen

Geolocation

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

Geolocation accuracy

Neighbourhood/area

Airwars assessment

Three ISIS militants were killed by a US strike in Al Bayda governorate on November 26th 2017, a US Central Command spokesperson told the Bureau of Investigative Journalism. This confirmed earlier reports that a US drone strike had taken place in Qayfa in Al Bayda governorate on that night.

However several local sources and news agencies indicated that the attack had instead killed at least three civilians.

Al-Masdar Online reported that, according to local residents, the US strike killed three civilians in the Aqaba Zaaj area of Qayfa. The dead were named as Salman Salem Al-Amri, Fadl Ali Al-Tisi and Dahan Saleh Al-Tisi, and residents denied to Al-Masdar that any were affiliated with AQAP or ISIS.

Another Twitter source, @FuadRajeh, suggested that an official had reported five children killed by an “indiscriminate” US drone strike in the Yakla area.  One other Twitter source simply reported “civilian casualties” from an American strike in Bayda.

Other sources suggested that three militants were killed in the attack, though indicated that they were affiliated with AQAP rather than ISIS.  According to AFP, three men “known for their ties to Al-Qaeda” were killed while travelling in a car in the area, named as Fadl Tissi, Han Tissi, and Sultan Amri. A local government official reportedly told Al-Arabi that “the raid targeted a car belonging to [AQAP] late Sunday night while it was passing on a secondary road in one of the areas of the province”.

A pro-AQAP channel later confirmed that the three killed were militants, according to one English-language Twitter source, @demolinari.  @demolinari also suggested that images of the dead showed one in camouflage and an ammunition vest, though the described images could not be found by Airwars.

Gulf News reported, in an article that appears to have been updated on November 28th 2017, that five civilians, “mainly farmers”, were killed in the course of “three separate air strikes” in the Qayfa area during that week. This reported civilian casualty event likely accounts for at least one of the reported strikes, alongside event USYEMTr120-C.

Gulf News reported that recent US drone strikes in the area had “displaced residents and caused panic”. “The air strikes have caused great panic among civilians,” the activist told Gulf News. “The targeted areas have no functioning schools or hospitals.”

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

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

The incident occured during the night.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    3 – 5
  • (5 children)
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Contested
    Competing claims of responsibility e.g. multiple belligerents, or casualties also attributed to ground forces.
  • Known attacker
    US Forces
  • Known targets
    Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), ISIS - Yemen
  • Belligerents reported killed
    3

Sources (16) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (3) [ collapse]

Geolocation notes (1) [ collapse]

Reports of the incident mention strikes within the area of Qifah (قيفه), north of Rada’a (رداع) town, for which the generic coordinates are: 14.449335, 44.817596. Due to limited satellite imagery and information available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further.

  • Reports of the incident mention strikes within the area of Qifah (قيفه), north of Rada’a (رداع) town.

    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.
  • 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

Jess,

This is the most current CENTCOM information on strikes against AQAP and ISIS in Yemen.

· One strike against ISIS in al-Bayda Governorate, Yemen, Nov. 26. killing three terrorists.
· One strike against AQAP in Shabwah Governorate, Yemen, Nov. 25 killing seven terrorists.
· One strike against ISIS in al-Bayda Governorate, Yemen, Nov. 23, killing two terrorists.
· Two strikes against AQAP in al-Bayda Governorate, Yemen, Nov. 19-20. The strikes killed two AQAP terrorists Nov. 19 and five terrorists on Nov 20.

Let me know if you have any further questions.

MAJ Brown
CENTCOM Media Operations

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    3 – 5
  • (5 children)
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Contested
    Competing claims of responsibility e.g. multiple belligerents, or casualties also attributed to ground forces.
  • Known attacker
    US Forces
  • Known targets
    Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), ISIS - Yemen
  • Belligerents reported killed
    3

Sources (16) [ collapse]