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

USYEM050-B

Incident date

March 13, 2012

Location

ٱلْبَيْضَاء‎, Bayda (town), Bayda, Yemen

Geolocation

13.986325, 45.571973 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Town level. Continue to map

Airwars assessment

An alleged U.S. drone strike killed four to five alleged AQAP militants and injured five others traveling in a car along an outpost in the Al-Ghunaim area of Shuria district in Al-Bayda Province on 13 March 2012. There are currently no known reports of civilian harm.

Yemeni security officials stated that the strike was conducted by a U.S. Predator or Reaper aircraft, although other Yemeni officials claimed it was a U.S. fighter jet. American military and intelligence officials did not confirm or deny the air strike. CNN reported that the strike appeared to be the work of the US, due to its precision nature.

Yemeni officials claimed that AQAP leader Nasser al-Zafar was killed in the strike, although other Yemeni sources claim al-Zafar was killed in a clash with Yemeni security forces after the strike.

Six air raids by the Yemen Air Force were also reported in nearby Jaar, as militant group Ansar al Sharia carried out a suicide bombing in revenge, it said, for recent US drone strikes.

The incident occured in the afternoon.

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention that a car outside the town Al Bayda (ٱلْبَيْضَاء‎) was targeted. The generic coordinates for the town of Al Bayda (ٱلْبَيْضَاء‎) are: 13.986325, 45.571973. 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, Drone Strike
  • 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
    4–5
  • Belligerents reported injured
    5

Sources (10) [ 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
    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
    4–5
  • Belligerents reported injured
    5

Sources (10) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USYEM110-B

Incident date

June 25, 2012

Location

بئر حميد, Bir Hamid, Aden, Yemen

Geolocation

13.0327780, 44.9158330 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Neighbourhood/area level. Continue to map

Airwars assessment

On June 25th, 2012, a declared US drone strike hit two vehicles in the outskirts of Aden in Bir Hamid at dawn. Three alleged AQAP members were killed, while several others were wounded. There are currently no known reports of civilian harm.

The identities of those killed were not reported, but a source told the BBC that “among the dead was a prominent leader in the organization”. A security official said a drone fired two missiles on a convoy which destroyed their pick-up truck, and killed the three militants believed to be affiliated with Al Qaeda including one senior commander. A US intelligence official confirmed American involvement to The Long War Journal, but would not say if a CIA or military drone carried out the strikes.

Additionally, Marebpress, BBC and Yemen Post mentioned that several militants were left wounded. Locals told Yemen Fox that they heard explosions and saw flames rising, but saw no bodies, adding that “other militants came and entered the area believed to pick up bodies of their colleagues.”

Military officials said the vehicles had been pursued by US drones, causing fear among local residents who worried the drones would bring destruction to their region. The vehicle was targeted on a desert road on the edge of the strategically important city of Aden. The convoy was hit as it travelled away from Abyan province.

A security official speaking anonymously to Xinhua said that “Two missiles bombed an Al Qaeda convoy, destroying a small pick-up truck and killing all passengers inside,” the security official said, adding that “They were coming from neighbouring Abyan province, where army troops seized control of the Al Qaeda bastions.

The BBC, Xinhua and the Long War Journal reported that this was the first strike in Aden.

Due to the nature of both CIA and US military involvement in Yemen, and the lack of official acknowledgement by the CIA for their involvement, Airwars grades this event as “declared” due to the comments made by US government sources to media, in lieu of public reporting on CIA actions.

The incident occured in the morning.

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention that the strike occurred on a desert road in the Beer Hameed (Bir Hamid/Bir Humayd) (بئر حميد) area, in the outskirts of the port city Aden (عدن). The vehicle that was targeted was traveling from the neighbouring Abyan province towards Aden. The generic coordinates for the Bir Hamid (بئر حميد) area are: 13.0327780, 44.9158330. Due to limited information and satellite imagery available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    No
  • Civilians reported killed
    0
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Known attacker
    US Forces
  • Known target
    Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP)
  • Belligerents reported killed
    3
  • Belligerents reported injured
    2

Sources (14) [ collapse]

US Forces Assessment:

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

Original strike reports

US Forces

Long War Journal, June 26th, 2012:

"A US intelligence official contacted by The Long War Journal confirmed the strike, but would not comment on the nature of the target; nor would the official say if the attack was carried out by the CIA or the US military."

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    No
  • Civilians reported killed
    0
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Known attacker
    US Forces
  • Known target
    Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP)
  • Belligerents reported killed
    3
  • Belligerents reported injured
    2

Sources (14) [ 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

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.

The victims were named as:

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.

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)

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

USYEMTr168-C

Incident date

May 25, 2018

Location

وادي الخورة, Wadi Khora, Shabwa, Yemen

Geolocation

14.61063, 46.21792 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Neighbourhood/area level. Continue to map

Airwars assessment

A civilian, who most sources reported to be a 17-year old child, was reportedly killed by a US drone strike in Wadi Khora area in Shabwa, before sunset on May 25th 2018. In a later press release, US Central Command stated that a strike had been conducted on that day, citing three possible provinces. Since there were no other known reports in Yemen of a US strike on this date, this incident is treated as declared.

A single source, @aynalarab1, claimed that two al Qaeda militants had died in the attack.

Local language sources including Wata News, Yemeni News, and The Yemen, reported that Mahdar Hussein al-Hag was killed while driving his motorcycle at the top of the Khora valley. Mahdar’s father told Associated Press that he was a 17-year old high school student, on the way home from buying vegetables. “He might have been mistaken for al-Qaida youth who are active in this area,” his father said. The local-language news outlets mentioned above instead reported that Mahdar was 19 years-old.

This was the second reported US strike in Khora during May; the first (USYEMTr166-C) reportedly killed at least two men, allegedly AQAP militants, while they drove through the area.

CENTCOM publicly reported the following in late August 2018: “U.S. Central Command has conducted six counterterrorism air strikes targeting al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula terrorist network in Yemen in three separate governorates since May 16, bringing the total number of air strikes to 34. These include air strikes May 25, two airstrikes June 23 and 30, two airstrikes July 22 and 24, and one Aug. 14. These air strikes took place in Shabwah, Hadramawt and Al-Bayda governorates.”

The strike was not however included in a CENTCOM release of US actions to the Long War Journal in summer 2018.

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 March 2021 report Death from the Sky, Mwatana also identified Mohdar Hussein Mohammed El Hajj as the 17 year old victim of the strike – insisting he was a civilian. “Mohdar had recently finished the 10th grade, and was set to go the 11th grade. An area resident and Mohdar’s cousin described him as a “diligent and passionate student.” Mohdar’s daily routine included going to school every day in the morning, coming home at noon and helping his father at a nearby farm or doing other chores until about 4 p.m. He would then go play football, and come home around 6 p.m. A few months before the strike, Mohdar had bought a motorcycle. When not in school, he had been making money transporting food and other goods to people in the village, as well as to a few other nearby areas.”

The report noted the psychological impact on surviving relatives: “Family members said that Mohdar’s death had a significant impact on the family. Mohdar had four younger siblings: one sister, who was about seven years old, and three brothers who were nine, 11 and 12 years old. He was the oldest son, and had been helping the family do chores, including helping on the farm. His work transporting goods on his motorcycle had also provided financial help to his family. Family members said that his grandmother was the first to see Mohdar’s body when it was brought home, and that she fainted. His relationship with his grandmother had been very strong.”

The incident occured around dusk.

The victims were named as:

17-19 years old male killed

Geolocation notes (1) [ collapse]

Reports of the incident mention a vehicle being struck in the Wadi Khora (وادي الخورة) area within the Merkhat (مرخة) districts of Shabwa (شبوة) governorate. It is unclear whether this refers to an area or a settlement, however we have located the Wadi within the district with undefined boundaries. Due to limited satellite imagery and information available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further. The generic coordinates for Wadi Khora are: 14.61063, 46.21792.

  • Reports of the incident mention a vehicle being struck in the Wadi Khora (وادي الخورة) area within the Merkhat (مرخة) districts of Shabwa (شبوة) governorate. It is unclear whether this refers to an area or a settlement, however we have located the Wadi within the district with undefined boundaries.

    Imagery:
    Google Earth

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    1
  • (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

Sources (15) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (3) [ collapse]

  • Mahdar Hussein al-Hag's father said that he was a seventeen-year-old student, targeted while returning from buying vegetables (AP, November 14th 2018)

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

Original strike reports

US Forces

U.S. Central Command has conducted six counterterrorism air strikes targeting al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula terrorist network in Yemen in three separate governorates since May 16, bringing the total number of air strikes to 34.

These include air strikes May 25, two airstrikes June 23 and 30, two airstrikes July 22 and 24, and one Aug. 14. These air strikes took place in Shabwah, Hadramawt and Al-Bayda governorates.

A recent United Nations report assessed AQAP leaders recognize Yemen as a hub for external operations.

“AQAP has taken advantage of the conflicts in Yemen, to plot, direct and encourage terror attacks abroad,” said Lt. Col. Earl Brown, a USCENTCOM spokesman. “We will not relent on our pursuit of AQAP terrorists as they remain a significant threat to regional security and stability, and the safety of Americans at home and abroad.”

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    1
  • (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

Sources (15) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USYEM119-C

Incident date

August 8, 2012

Location

القطن, Al Qotn, Hadhramaut, Yemen

Geolocation

15.840587, 48.462107 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Town level. Continue to map

Airwars assessment

On the 8th of August 2012, multiple drone or air strikes, allegedly by either Yemeni or US authorities, killed one person just before dawn in Al Qotn in the Hahdramaut Province. It remains unclear whether the person killed was a civilian or not.

@YRMC_S and @AdenOnline reported one person killed while @BaFana3 reported that a drone strike occurred just before dawn without specifying if anyone was killed. It was unclear whether those killed were civilians or militants.

None of the sources identified who was responsible, with both airstrikes and drones mentioned by the sources.

The incident occured around dawn.

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention the town of Al Qotn (القطن), for which the generic coordinates are: 15.840587, 48.462107. Due to limited satellite imagery and information available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Contested strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    0 – 1
  • 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.
  • Suspected attackers
    US Forces, Yemeni Air Force
  • Belligerents reported killed
    0–1

Sources (3) [ collapse]

US Forces Assessment:

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

Yemeni Air Force Assessment:

  • Suspected belligerent
    Yemeni Air Force
  • Yemeni Air Force position on incident
    Not yet assessed

Summary

  • Strike status
    Contested strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    0 – 1
  • 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.
  • Suspected attackers
    US Forces, Yemeni Air Force
  • Belligerents reported killed
    0–1

Sources (3) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USYEM019-C

Incident date

June 18, 2011

Location

جعار, Ja'ar, Abyan, Yemen

Geolocation

13.223161, 45.305486 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Town level. Continue to map

Airwars assessment

Between five and six civilians were injured in alleged US airstrikes or drone strikes on the neighborhood of Ja’ar and possibly other locations in Abyan governorate on June 18, 2011.

Marepress reported that American planes attacked civilian areas and focused attacks on Zinjibar and Jaar. Raids were also launched by US drones in Al-Rai neighborhood. According to the report, five civilians were wounded but there were no reports of any Al Qaeda operatives injured. Hussein Al-Yafai (@crazyyafai) tweeted that “American planes injure six people in Abyan while aiming for Al Qaeda targets”. @Sada_Aden mentioned that the preacher of the Jaar Mosque “survived the assassination.”

A tweet from @alguneid specifically referenced airstrikes against the farm of “so called jihadist” Khaled A Nabi at 10am, thought they caused no damage.

No other details were able on the victims of the strikes.

The local time of the incident is unknown.

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention the town of Ja’ar (جعار) in Abyan governorate. The coordinates for Ja’ar are: 13.223161, 45.305486.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Likely strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    0
  • Civilians reported injured
    5–6
  • 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.
  • Suspected attacker
    US Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP)

Sources (12) [ 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
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    0
  • Civilians reported injured
    5–6
  • 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.
  • Suspected attacker
    US Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP)

Sources (12) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USYEM064-B

Incident date

April 21, 2012

Location

جبل يسوف, Jabal (Mount) Yasuf, Abyan, Yemen

Geolocation

13.894167, 45.889444 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Neighbourhood/area level. Continue to map

Airwars assessment

Between eight to 17 Al Qaeda militants were killed and five others were injured in an alleged Yemeni or US air strike in the southeastern province of Abyan on the outskirts of the town of Lawdar, on the 21st of April 2012 in the evening. There have been no reports of civilian harm.

Yemen’s Defense Ministry claimed that 17 alleged Al-Qaeda militants were killed in a house hosting a gathering near Lawder.

However, an official told Xinhua that the attack was undertaken by two fighter jets who killed 12 and injured five alleged militants.

The Yemen Defense Ministry announced that 17 suspected militants were killed in a hideout and witnesses added that three were killed when a vehicle caught fire on a road in Samda located between Jouf and Marib due to a missile strike. They added that others were injured in the vehicle. KUNA counted the destruction of three vehicles.

The Yemen Post reports that the attack killed 11 and destroyed military vehicles. The lowest casualty estimate was provided by @MayaSlman, who tweeted that eight Al Qaeda members were killed.

While multiple sources refer to Yemen officials announcing that their air force carried out the strikes, it is unclear whether the airstrikes were carried out by Yemen or by US drones as AFP notes. As Wikileaks from this time period reveal, in some cases the Yemeni government was instructed to take credit for airstrikes carried out by the US.

The incident occured in the evening.

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention that militant hideouts were targeted in the Jabal (Mount) Yasuf (جبل يسوف) area and Al Maniasa area near the town of Lawdar (لودر) in the Abyan governorate. Airwars was not able to locate the Al Maniasa area, however, the coordinates for Jabal Yasuf (جبل يسوف) are: 13.894167, 45.889444.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Contested strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    No
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Suspected attackers
    US Forces, Yemeni Air Force
  • Suspected target
    Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP)
  • Belligerents reported killed
    8–17
  • Belligerents reported injured
    5

Sources (12) [ collapse]

US Forces Assessment:

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

Yemeni Air Force Assessment:

  • Suspected belligerent
    Yemeni Air Force
  • Yemeni Air Force position on incident
    Not yet assessed

Summary

  • Strike status
    Contested strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    No
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Suspected attackers
    US Forces, Yemeni Air Force
  • Suspected target
    Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP)
  • Belligerents reported killed
    8–17
  • Belligerents reported injured
    5

Sources (12) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USYEM125-C

Incident date

September 5, 2012

Location

الهشم, Hashim, Hadhramout, Yemen

Geolocation

15.4619740, 48.4316200 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Village level. Continue to map

Airwars assessment

Up to four civilians were killed when an alleged US drone reportedly fired eight missiles on a residential house with a winery on the ground floor in the village of Hashim in Hadramout. Sources were conflicted as to who was killed, with some reporting that the strike killed up to six Al Qaeda affiliates and wounded three more militants.

According to the DPA news agency, “Four civilians were killed Wednesday in an airstrike by a US drone in eastern Yemen”. The sources added: “A local worker and three foreigners were killed in the strike on a house in the area of Wadi al-Ain in the province of Hadramout, said the independent Yemeni website Mareb Press.” A tweet from @BaFana3 reported that one civilian and four Iraqi/Syria Al Qaeda members were killed.

An anonymous US intelligence official confirmed a US drone carried out the strike. However, according to the Long War Journal, the Yemeni military later took responsibility for the attack.  A Yemeni security official said “none of those killed were on the government’s list of most-wanted terrorists.” The anonymous official told CNN: “Those killed were mostly new Al Qaeda members who were seeking to recruit more fighters from within the province. Only one of those killed had been with the network for more than three years.”

Initial reports said that two middle-ranking or senior members of the local branch of Al Qaeda were also among the dead, and a Yemeni military official said a “senior [Al Qaeda] member” named as Murad Ben Salem was killed in the strike.

However, an anonymous source told the Bureau of Investigative Journalism that Murad, while he may have had militant links, was a worker to whom a traditional sesame oil press belonged to. Other sources, including Hour News, referred to the location as a “vegetable oil presser” and winery, adding that the explosion demolished the house that the winery was located below.

The source also reported that two foreign Al Qaeda members were killed, an Iraqi and a Syrian. Other reports said a Saudi and an Iraqi were among the dead. Xinhua identified three militants as being injured, and added that they had managed to flee the bombing area.

Witnesses reported that eight men escaped the building. “Weapons found in the house after the attack are enough to conduct more than a dozen terrorist operations,” according to a senior security official.

Reuters was the sole agency later to report that AQAP number two Said al Shehri died in the attack. AQAP announced the death of al Shehri in a video that was released on July 16, 2013 according to the SITE Intelligence Group, which obtained the video. However, the statement does not specify when he was killed, only that it was by US drones. In October 2012, AP reported that “a man claiming to be Saudi-born [Said al Shehri] says reports of his death were a “rumor to cover up the killing of innocent Muslim civilians: and in April 2013, AQAP released a statement from al Shihri, and referred to him as if he was alive.

The reports at hand do contradict each other to some extent on how many civilians and belligerents were killed by the drone attack. While Reuters states that only five belligerents were killed in the attack, other sources such as Marebpress write that only four civilians were killed.

In addition, Hournews and Yafanews stated that the attack took place on September 4. All others reported that the strike took place on September 5.

Hour News reported that the bombing led to a state of panic and terror among the population, “as the target was between the residential houses in the Al-Hashem area and near the 26th of September School and close to the Babiker Charitable Hospital, which was dominated by a state of confusion within its departments and fear and panic among its sick”.

Due to the nature of both CIA and US military involvement in Yemen, and the lack of official acknowledgement by the CIA for their involvement, Airwars grades this event as “declared” due to the comments made by US government sources to media, in lieu of public reporting on CIA actions.

The incident occured around dawn.

Geolocation notes

Reports mention the village of Hashim (الهشم) in the Wadi Al Ain (وادي العين) area, Hadhramout governorate. The coordinates for the village of Hashim (الهشم) are: 15.4619740, 48.4316200. Due to limited information and satellite imagery available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian infrastructure
    Agriculture
  • Civilian harm reported
    No
  • Civilians reported killed
    0 – 4
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Known attacker
    US Forces
  • Known target
    Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP)
  • Belligerents reported killed
    0–6
  • Belligerents reported injured
    3

Sources (19) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (3) [ collapse]

  • Protests took place in three Yemen cities to demand an end to US drone strikes on September 7th.
  • Damage caused by alleged US drone strikes on September 4, 2012. (Image posted by Yafa News)
  • Damage caused by alleged US drone strikes on September 4, 2012. (Image posted by Yafa News)

US Forces Assessment:

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

Original strike reports

US Forces

An anonymous US intelligence official confirmed to the Long War Journal that a US drone carried out the strike:

"...he strike was carried out by the US’s fleet of unmanned Predators and Reapers based in the area, a US intelligence official told The Long War Journal. US drones have zeroed in on Hadramout province over the past month. Of the seven recorded strikes since the beginning of August, five have taken place in the eastern province..."

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian infrastructure
    Agriculture
  • Civilian harm reported
    No
  • Civilians reported killed
    0 – 4
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Known attacker
    US Forces
  • Known target
    Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP)
  • Belligerents reported killed
    0–6
  • Belligerents reported injured
    3

Sources (19) [ collapse]