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

USYEM095-B

Incident date

May 28, 2012

Location

مديرية بروم ميفع, 60 km west of Mukkala, Brom Mayfa district, Abyan, Yemen

Geolocation

14.129624, 48.764386 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Neighbourhood/area level. Continue to map

Airwars assessment

Between four and seven Al Qaeda militants were killed in an alleged US drone strike conducted against a car travelling on a coastal road between the towns of Azzan and Mukalla in the Brom Mayfa district in Hadhramout governorate on the 28th of May, 2012.

Mareb Press reported that “a U.S. drone killed five Al Qaeda militants in the Burum and Mayfa district of Hadhramout governorate” and further stated that eyewitnesses had claimed that the five people killed were members of Ansar al-Sharia and were travelling to Mayfa. Reuters, Nashwan News and several local sources such as @yosfgrx, @andrecolling, and @SUHFNET_YE stated the number of militants killed in the strike to be seven. However, on the 30th of May, the local news outlet the Mukalla Star reported that security services in Hadhramout governorate had stated that “five terrorist elements were killed in the strike.”

Additionally, the Mukalla Star reported that the missile fired in the airstrike was launched from a “drone plane” and the remains of two of those killed in the attack were prayed for at a local mosque, and then buried in Ambikha cemetery. Xinhua quoted a security official who, on condition of anonymity, stated that “the U.S. drone fired two missiles on a pick-up truck in Mayfa area, west of Mukalla.” A report by www.thenews.com stated that the Yemeni Air Force (YAF) may have received a “tip off” about the militant meeting, and quoted a security official who said that “the militants were in a leafy area under trees.” It should be noted that the Bureau of Investigative Journalism (BIJ) drew attention to the fact that some sources had told the Yemen Post that the missile had in fact come from “a ship off the Yemeni coast”.

Nashwan News referred to a report by Agence France-Presse (AFP) which stated that amongst the activists killed, was the “local military leader of Al Qaeda, Saleh Abdul Khaleq.” This was also reported by www.emirates247.com and local sources such as @Yesgsioshi, although emirates247 reported that Khaleq had been killed “in an air raid conducted by Yemeni warplanes”, rather than by a U.S. drone.

The Bureau of Investigative Journalism similarly made reference to a report on the strike by Agence France-Presse (AFP) which said that the attack was carried out by the Yemen Air Force (YAF) but the BIJ added that “the air force reportedly lacks the technical ability to carry out a precision strike on a moving vehicle.”

Regarding the aftermath of the strike, the Mukalla Star reported that the local security services that investigated the ‘strike site’ found five burnt corpses and four ID cards. The ID cards belonged to: Hussein Salem Ali Rabie, from Shabwa governorate; Abd al-Malik Mohsen Salem Baqtan from the city of Mukalla; Saleh Abdulrahman Abdullah Al-Hamiri from the directorate of Hadramout; and Muhammad Abdullah Hussain Al-Saqqaf, from Mukalla.

The security services investigation team was reported to have additionally found several burnt automatic rifles at the site of the strike, and confirmed that the vehicle hit in the attack was a beige colour “2010 model Shass”. The local investigation team reportedly noted that the car was “completely burnt out.” Finally, the Mukalla Star reported that the dead bodies were taken to a local hospital for legal procedures.

The local time of the incident is unknown.

Geolocation notes (1) [ collapse]

Reports of the incident mention that the airstrike targeted a vehicle on a deserted coastal road between the towns Azzan (عزان) and Mukalla (المكلا). Some sources point to the ‘Broom’ and ‘Mayfa’ areas, west of Mukkala (المكلا), which most likely refers to the Brom Mayfa district (مديرية بروم ميفع) in Hadhramout (حضرموت‎) governorate. Several sources mention that the vehicle was hit around 60 kilometers west of Mukalla (المكلا), one points out that the militants were in a ‘leafy area under trees’. The coordinates for the road between Azzan (عزان) and Mukalla (المكلا), around 60 km west of Mukalla (المكلا) are: 14.129624, 48.764386. Due to limited information and satellite imagery available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further.

  • Road between Azzan (عزان) and Mukalla (المكلا), marked in red, that runs through the Brom Mayfa district (مديرية بروم ميفع) in the Hadhramout (حضرموت‎) governorate

    Imagery:
    Google Earth

Summary

  • Strike status
    Contested strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike, Naval bombardment
  • Civilian harm reported
    No
  • Civilians reported killed
    0
  • 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
    4–7

Sources (25) [ 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, Naval bombardment
  • Civilian harm reported
    No
  • Civilians reported killed
    0
  • 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
    4–7

Sources (25) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USYEM141-B

Incident date

January 4, 2013

Location

رداع, Rada'a, Al Bayda, Yemen

Geolocation

14.415088, 44.840937 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Town level. Continue to map

Airwars assessment

On January 3rd 2013, at least three Al Qaeda militants were allegedly killed by a US or Yemeni airstrike in a “mountainous area” near Rada’a. There are currently no known reports of civilian harm.

Among those who died was Muqbel Abbad Al Zobah, nicknamed Abu Shebab, the news source Akhbar Alyom reported. This was corroborated amongst others by Al Jazeera English, AFP, and Xinhua. He was said to have been a 35 years old man from a nearby village in the Qifah area. Local sources described Al Zobah as a leading Al Qaeda figure and according to AFP, he was the brother-in-law of Tareq al Dhahab “who led Al Qaeda fighters in a brief January 2012 raid on Rada’a” and was killed in February 2012. The second militant was Musaed al Zubairi, a 37 years old man from the Ma’rib governorate. He has been wanted by the Yemeni security services. While most sources reported that the third militant killed in the strike could not be identified, Twitter user @BaFana3 claimed on the day of the attack that Sahr Qaid Al Dhahab was among the dead.

The militants were hit travelling in their car in the Qifah district of Rada’a and were killed on the spot, Akhbar Alyom reported. A resident told Reuters that “the car […] was completely destroyed and their bodies were unrecognisable.”

The attack was the fifth strike to hit southern Yemen within ten days, The Times reported. The strikes were believed to have targeted Abdulraouf al Dahab, who was “instrumental in Al Qaeda’s takeover of Rada’a last year.”

The following day, Reuters reported that local tribesmen demonstrated in Rada’a against US drone strikes. One protester told the news agency that “seven innocent civilians” had been killed in the recently intensified air campaign. Another said: “If the [Yemeni] authorities don’t stop the American attacks then we will occupy the government institutions in the town.”

According to Reuters, a government official said that “the attack was by a Yemeni aircraft.” However, most local accounts of the incident made the US responsible for the raid. Residents suspected that the strike came from an unmanned aircraft. “We have noticed a drone flying over for the past few days,” they told Reuters.

The local time of the incident is unknown.

Geolocation notes (1) [ collapse]

Reports of the incident mention that the strike targeted a vehicle in or near the town of Rada’a (رداع). One source reported that the strike took place in a mountainous area of the town, however, as Rada’a is surrounded by mountains, it could not be determined what area this refers to. The coordinates for the town of Rada’a (رداع) are: 14.415088, 44.840937. Due to limited information and satellite imagery available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the precise location of the strike.

  • The town Rada’a (رداع), surrounded by mountains

    Imagery:
    Google Earth

Summary

  • Strike status
    Contested strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    No
  • Civilians reported killed
    0
  • 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
    3

Sources (49) [ 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
    0
  • 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
    3

Sources (49) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USYEM114-N

Incident date

July 28, 2012

Location

المحفد, Mahfad, Abyan, Yemen

Geolocation

14.060462, 46.914385 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Town level. Continue to map

Airwars assessment

On July 28th 2012 alleged Yemeni or US fighter jets bombed two suspected Al Qaeda hideouts in the Mahfad district of the Abyan Province with an unknown number of casualties as reported by Xinhua news who got their information from a local security official and a local resident.

The security official quoted by Xinhua news said: “It was not immediately clear if any of the Al Qaeda militants or some of their local leaders were killed in the air strikes. The bombing was in response to Wednesday’s Al Qaeda attack on pro-government checkpoints.”

A local resident said: “huge black [smoke] and fire erupted in one of the targeted compounds after military aircrafts fired some rockets on it” and that “[a]n abandoned Al Qaeda training site was also pounded in the air shelling”.

The attacks were attributed to Yemeni jets but its Air Force lacks the technical capability to carry out precision strikes. Therefore, US aircraft and armed drones may have been responsible.

This incident was identified by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism and has been included in Airwars’ database even though no casualties are mentioned.

The local time of the incident is unknown.

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention the town of Mahfad (المحفد), for which the generic coordinates are: 14.060462, 46.914385. Due to limited information and satellite imagery available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Single source claim
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian harm reported
    No
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Suspected attackers
    US Forces, Yemeni Air Force
  • Suspected target
    Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP)

Sources (1) [ 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
    Single source claim
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian harm reported
    No
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Suspected attackers
    US Forces, Yemeni Air Force
  • Suspected target
    Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP)

Sources (1) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USYEMBi008

Incident date

January 30, 2023

Location

محطة الحايرة, Al Hayra petrol station, Ma'rib, Yemen

Geolocation

15.501673, 45.380729 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Exact location (other) level. Continue to map

Airwars assessment

On January 30th 2023, an alleged United States drone strike was reported to have hit a car in Wadi Ubaidah in the Marib Governorate of Yemen. Three people were allegedly killed who were in the car at the time, who Al Mahara and other local sources reported were “members of Al-Qaeda”, including a prominent leader in Wadi Ubaidah. @BnMhwr tweeted that one militant inside the car was Hassan al-Hadhrami, “responsible for making IEDs and explosives in al-Qaeda.” No civilian casualties were mentioned by local sources at this time.

Al Khabar Al Yamani news channel reported that the attack happened when the car was waiting in line to get petrol, at the Al-Hayra petrol station. This source and other local sources also identified the missile as a R9X Hellfire. Task and Purpose pointed out that based on images showing that the target vehicle was shredded from the roof in rather than destroyed in an explosion, it is likely the AGM-114 R9X Hellfire missile was used.

A Yemeni government official told AFP on a condition of anonymity, that “three Al-Qaeda members were killed in a strike by a drone that is believed to be American.”

AP described the after-math of the strike as “onlookers gathered around a small, four-door car coated in dried mud, peering through its shattered windows and torn-away roof at three dead men inside.”

Despite most reports attributing this to the US, there was no immediate statement from US officials. Local sources speculated that this could mean that this attack was carried out by the Special Operations Unit (JSOC) or the CIA, according to Al Khabar Al Yamani. US Central Command told Stars & Stripes that there was “no operational reporting at the time of this incident in Yemen”.

The local time of the incident is unknown.

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention a vehicle being struck in the vicinity of Al Hayra petrol station (محطة الحايرة), located in Wadi Ubaidah (وادي عبيدة) . According to research conducted by @VleckieHond, the exact coordinates for this strike are: 15.501673, 45.380729. Cross referencing source material, we can confirm the accuracy of this location.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Likely strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    No
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Suspected attacker
    US Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al Qaeda
  • Belligerents reported killed
    3

Sources (16) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (7) [ collapse]

  • On January 30th 2022 a reported US forces drone targeted a petrol station in Wadi Ubaidah, killing three Al Qaeda members (Image via @South24_net / Twitter)
  • Reportedly the strike was with a R9X Hellfire Missile (Image via @akhbar / Twitter)
  • Reportedly the strike was with a R9X Hellfire Missile (Image via @akhbar / Twitter)
  • "The sources said that Hassan al-Hadhrami, responsible for making IEDs and explosives in al-Qaeda, was killed in an air strike carried out by a US drone on his car near al-Hayrah station in the al-Samdah area of Wadi Ubaidah district" (Image via @BnMhwr / Twitter)
  • "According to local sources - quoted by the broadcaster Al Arabyia - the target was Hassan al Hadrami, an extremist specialized in making explosive belts and bombs. At his side were two accomplices." (Image via @e_yementoday / Twitter)

US Forces Assessment:

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

Summary

  • Strike status
    Likely strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    No
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Suspected attacker
    US Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al Qaeda
  • Belligerents reported killed
    3

Sources (16) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USYEM024-B

Incident date

July 27, 2011

Location

مديرية زنجبار, Karadeef, Zinjibar, Abyan, Yemen

Geolocation

13.135000, 45.430278 Note: The accuracy of this location is to District level. Continue to map

Airwars assessment

An alleged US airstrike that took place on Karadeef in West Zinjibar was reported to have killed five militants and injured two others, with no civilian harm reported, on July 27th 2011.

Xinhua news quoted a local official who said that five AQAP militants, including a field commander, were killed by a US drone strike on Karadeef, in western Zinjibar. Multiple sources corroborated the death of five militants. Akhbar Al-Youm overall reported that on July 27, 2011 “the killing of many militants and the injury of others. In the raid, the young man, “Adel Al-Houtari,” in Wadi Hassan was also killed, and 2 others were wounded.”

AdenHurra and Aden-online added that three of the militants were from Ma’rib and that one was the son of Nasser Al-Marqashi.

Yemenpost and AdenHurra reported the strike took place on Wadi Hassan in Zinjibar, resulting in some confusion over whether the location of the strikes was Wadi Hassan or Karadeef, or they were separate strikes. Aldi Apres added that the alleged strike was one of 12 strikes in the area on the afternoon of July 27th 2011.

Neither the US nor Yemeni officials have taken responsibility for the strike.

The incident occured during the day.

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention Karadeef area in Western Zinjibar. Due to limited information and satellite imagery available to Airwars, we were unable to locate this area. The coordinates for Zinjibar district (مديرية زنجبار) are: 13.135000, 45.430278.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Likely strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian harm reported
    No
  • Civilians reported killed
    0
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Suspected attacker
    US Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP)
  • Belligerents reported killed
    5
  • Belligerents reported injured
    2

Sources (8) [ collapse]

US Forces Assessment:

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

Summary

  • Strike status
    Likely strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • 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
    5
  • Belligerents reported injured
    2

Sources (8) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USYEM066-B

Incident date

April 23, 2012

Location

نصاب, Nisab (town or district), Shabwa, Yemen

Geolocation

14.507245, 46.494241 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Town level. Continue to map

Airwars assessment

On 23rd April 2012, a suspected US drone strike at 4:10pm hit vehicles in Shabwa province allegedly leaving up to three militants dead and up to three others injured, according to local sources. The vehicles were reportedly traveling from Nisab to Al-Salida Abadan.

Yaspr and Almotamar identified two of the dead as Hussein al-Ahwal Lahoul and Ali Saeed Samal. Almotamar also identified one of the injured as Saud Ahmed Al-Hared. There are currently no known reports of civilian harm.

The strike reportedly occurred in the al-Sanda district near the Obeida valley as the car was traveling from Nisab to Al-Salida Abadan. A local named Mohammed Bindighar told Fox News that he had seen drones circling overhead almost daily for the last five months.

A local source in Shabwa claimed that the strike was conducted on a “box” car as it was heading from Nisab to Al-Salida Abadan. A correspondent from Al-Masdar Online reported that local sources testified that a U.S. aircraft bombed a “hilux double car” occupied by Al Qaeda operatives, killing two people but injuring three. According to Fox News, local officials said an U.S. drone killed three members of Al Qaeda in the strike. Likewise, Reuters reported that residents and officials said that the strike was carried out by a U.S. drone, killed three Al Qaeda operatives, and injured two. A few Twitter accounts also published this death toll.

While one source, the website Al-Mutamar identified Moroccan warplanes as being responsible for the strike, every other source alleged that U.S. drones were the perpetrators.

The incident occured at 16:10:00 local time.

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention that a pickup truck was targeted in ‘Nasab’ in the governorate Shabwa (شبوة‎). This may refer to either the district or town of Nisab (نصاب). The coordinates of the town of Nisab (نصاب) are: 14.507245, 46.494241.

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
    2–3
  • Belligerents reported injured
    2–3

Sources (15) [ 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
    2–3
  • Belligerents reported injured
    2–3

Sources (15) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USYEM112-B

Incident date

July 4, 2012

Location

المحفد, al-Mahfad, Abyan, Yemen

Geolocation

14.060462, 46.914385 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Town level. Continue to map

Airwars assessment

Alleged Yemeni or US airstrikes on July 4th 2012 in al-Mahfad, Abyan province reportedly killed between three and 13 Al Qaeda militants and injured up to seven militants. There are currently no known reports of civilian harm.

Yemen Post, Naharnet, and Mareb Press reported that the raid was carried out against the position of Al Qaeda militants in the province of Abyan after their retreat from the cities of Zinjibaar and Jaar. Yemen Post claimed that as many as four strikes hit “suspected places and hideouts where [sic] Al Qaeda members sought shelter”.

The district official Yaslam al-Anburi of al-Mahfad said on Naharnet that three members of Al Qaeda were killed and seven injured. According to Mareb Press, 10 Al Qaeda members were killed in the attacks which was corroborated by the Twitter source @SuhailNews. Other local-language Twitter accounts including @anaalyemenii and @news_yemen reported the killing of 13 Al Qaeda militants.

The Yemen Defence Ministry took responsibility for the strikes, according to a Yemeni security source, who told United Press International (according to Mareb Press) that “the warplanes carried out 4 raids today targeting a gathering of so-called (Ansar al-Sharia) members”. However, given the limited capabilities of the Yemeni Air Force (The Bureau of Investigative Journalism), the confirmed missions of American strike jets over Yemen (Washington Post), and the alleged direct support of the US to the Yemeni army (Yemen Post), US involvement cannot be ruled out.

The local time of the incident is unknown.

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention the town of Mahfad (المحفد), for which the generic coordinates are: 14.060462, 46.914385. Due to limited information and satellite imagery available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Contested strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian harm reported
    No
  • Civilians reported killed
    0
  • 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
    3–13
  • Belligerents reported injured
    7

Sources (9) [ 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
  • Civilian harm reported
    No
  • Civilians reported killed
    0
  • 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
    3–13
  • Belligerents reported injured
    7

Sources (9) [ 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

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.

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

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]

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]