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

USYEM046-B

Incident date

January 30–31, 2012

Location

الخديرة, Awadh Abd Al Nabi school in the village Al Khadira, Abyan, Yemen

Geolocation

13.838889, 45.964722 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Nearby landmark level. Continue to map

Airwars assessment

Between three and 15 Al Qaeda members were killed and up to 15 others were injured in confirmed US airstrikes conducted by a mix of drones and manned aircrafts under the US Department of Defence’s control on Awadh Abd Al Nabi school in the village Al Khadira on January 31, 2012. There were no known reports of civilian casualties.

According to Alarabiya, witnesses described three strikes in total, the first two struck the school where the suspected militants were having a meeting and the last one struck a four-wheel drive vehicle near the school. The strikes were said to be against several suspected local leaders from Al Qaeda. It is alleged that Abdul Monem al-Fadhani (Fathani), Al-Khadr Em-Soudah and Ahmed Mu’eran Abu Ali were killed in this attack. Reuters refers to four of those killed as being “local leaders”.

One report noted Nasir al Wuhayshi, the emir or leader of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, ‘broke down in tears… on the road between ‘Azzan in Shabwa and Mudiyah in Abyan province, upon seeing the body of the leader Abdul Monem al-Fadhani (Fathani). According to a tweet from @ionacraig a week after the strikes, “Half a dozen charred bodies were not identified”.

Reported by The Washington Post and multiple other sources, Fathani has been wanted by the US due to his alleged links to the attack on the USS Cole in 2000 and an attack on a French oil tanker in 2002. Preliminary reporting said that Nasir al Wuhayshi also was present at the meeting and had been killed in the strikes but al Qaeda later confirmed that Nasir was killed June 9, 2015 in a US strike (USYEM224). Wuhayshi’s brother was reportedly killed by a US drone strike a month earlier, on December 22 (USYEM045-B).

A senior U.S. official confirmed to CNN that the strike was carried out by a mix of drones and manned aircraft under the control of the Defense Department, not the CIA. The US officials did not give a particular number, claiming that the situation was “very complex”. However, an Al Qaeda Spokesman claimed there had been only 3 members of the organization killed and two were wounded. The sources agree that there were no civilian casualties, and the majority of them claim that four Al Qaeda members were killed in the strike. It was said to be considered one of the biggest American strikes in Yemen up until that point, as it targeted many of the Al Qaeda leaders at the same time. Sources told Yafa Newspaper that “the warplanes continued to hover over the region, which created a state of panic among children, women and the elderly” and that some fled their homes.

Three men were later executed by Ansar al Sharia on February 12 in connection with this attack. Three men were initially reported as being ‘beheaded at dawn’ by Yemeni militant group Ansar al Sharia for allegedly giving information to the US to allow it to conduct drone strikes in the area. Although residents of the towns of Jaar and Azzan told Reuters that two Saudis and one Yemeni were executed, a spokesman for Ansar al Sharia later said ‘none of those executed were Saudi citizens, but all three had been working for the intelligence services of the kingdom, a close ally of the United States’.

In August 2012, video emerged indicating that one of the men – Saleh Ahmed Saleh Al-Jamely – was crucified by Ansar al Sharia. The group indicated that he had been killed in connection with the drone strike on January 31. MEMRI reported that the other two men, Hassan Naji Hassan al Naqeeb – accused of recruiting, delivering chips, and paying spies; and Ramzi Muhammad Qaid al Ariqi – accused of spying for the Saudi intelligence by taking photographs of several buildings, were executed in public, but not crucified.

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 during the night.

Geolocation notes (2) [ collapse]

Reports of the incident mention that a school (of the Martyr Awadh Abd Al Nabi) in the village Al Khadira (الخديرة), between the towns Lawdar (لودر) and Mudiya (مودية) was struck, as well as a convoy of cars in the same area. The coordinates for the village Al Khadira (الخديرة) are: 13.840369, 45.963478. One building in the village is marked on Wikimapia as a school (named Awad Ahmed Awad School مدرسة عوض احمد عوض الابتدائية), at these coordinates: 13.838889, 45.964722. However, no visible damage to the building can be seen on satellite imagery between 24 August 2011 and 2 April 2012.

  • Roads connecting the towns Lawdar (لودر) and Mudiya (مودية), the village of Al Khadira (الخديرة) located on the southern road

    Imagery:
    Google Earth

  • The school in the village of Al Khadira (الخديرة)

    Imagery:
    Google Earth

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian infrastructure
    School
  • 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
    3–15
  • Belligerents reported injured
    2–15

Sources (31) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (1) [ collapse]

US Forces Assessment:

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

Original strike reports

US Forces

A senior U.S. official confirmed to CNN that the strike was carried out by a mix of drones and manned aircraft under the control of the Defense Department, not the CIA.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian infrastructure
    School
  • 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
    3–15
  • Belligerents reported injured
    2–15

Sources (31) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USYEM047-C

Incident date

March 9, 2012

Location

المخنق, Al Makhnaq, Al Zahir district, Al Bayda, Yemen

Geolocation

14.0141440, 45.367645 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Village level. Continue to map

Airwars assessment

Ten to 43 suspected militants were reported killed in a drone strike at 9:15pm on al Bayda, Yemen, March 9th, 2012. Yet in interviews, human rights activists and victims’ relatives said “many” of the dead were civilians, not fighters, with at least two named civilian victims and a report of a child killed. As many as 55 people were also wounded. United States officials took responsibility for the strike on April 1st, 2012.

Two alleged civilians were named in a Washington Post report as the brothers of Salim al Barakani.

A late evening airstrike on Bayda by US drones struck a gathering of alleged militants. As many as 34 ‘AQAP militants died including ‘four senior leaders‘ – one named as Hadaar al Homaiqani, a local AQAP leader. Almasdar Online added additional names of those killed: Hadaar al Homaiqani (two cousins ​​with the same name), Abdul-Aziz Al-Barq, Mohsen Mirza, and Ahmed Sharaf, and two belonging to the Al-Qirbi family, and a person called Abdul-Malik (from Sana’a) and another called Samarkand (from Sanaa) and two belonging to the Al-Barakani family, in addition to two from Shabwa governorate and another from Mudiyah, Abyan. Albayan added the names Ali Ahmad al-Barakani, Husayn Ahmad al-Barakani, Ali Taha al-Qirbi, Saleh Taha al-Qirbi, and Muhammad Taha al-Qirbi.

Bayda’s governor claimed “two Pakistanis, two Saudi nationals, and one Syrian and one Iraqi” were among the dead.

A source in the city told Reuters that “Flames and smoke could be seen rising from the area,” while a military official reported that ‘the attack targeted a gathering of Al Qaeda elements and a number of them were killed.’

An AQAP spokesman told Xinhua: “More than two US drones are still striking several posts of al Qaida in three villages outside al Bayda’s central city.” AQAP also released a statement that only 17 of its fighters were killed in al Bayda and no one was injured.

On March 11th, 2012 Al-Bayan stated that eyewitnesses reported that the strikes killed 27 and wounded 55. A tweet from @ElMokhalesTV reported that 43 people were killed. Neither source specified whether the killed or wounded were civilians or belligerents.

On March 11th at 10:31am local time, journalist @ionacraig tweeted that a 13 year-old boy was killed in a “recent US drone strike.” However, it is unclear if he is referencing this strike or the one on March 10th.

On April 1st, 2012 a US official confirmed the attack, with the Los Angeles Times reporting: ‘American missiles soon rained down. The Al Qaeda commander was killed, along with 22 other suspected militants, most of them believed to be young recruits receiving military training, US officials said.’ The strike was reportedly carried out by a JSOC drone.

In May 2012, the Washington Post reported that ‘many civilians’ had died in the attack, according to interviews with victims’ relatives and human rights activists. Two brothers of local businessman Salim al Barakani – one a teacher, the other a cellphone repairman, were among the civilians killed.

Almotamar quoted Brigadier General Ali Aziz Al-Hujaili, commander of the Al-Bayda governorate axis, commander of the 26th Republican Guard Brigade, who said that an air strike, which he described as successful, was launched against the headquarters of terrorist groups of Al Qaeda in the Al-Mukhanq area and in the people of Madbi in Al-Bayda Governorate.

Al Barakani told The Post that after the attack: “Villagers were too afraid to go to the area. Al Qaeda militants took advantage and offered to bury the villagers’ relatives. That made people even more grateful and appreciative of Al Qaeda. Afterwards, Al Qaeda told the people, ‘We will take revenge on your behalf.’ ”

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 at 21:15:00 local time.

The victims were named as:

Family members (2)

Adult male killed
Adult male killed

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention that three villages west of Bayda town were targeted, named Al Makhnaq (or Al Makhzan), Al Dooqi (or Al Dogi or Dhabiah) and Al Mahmdud (or Al Mahmdood). The ‘Jabra area’ in Al Zahir district is also mentioned to have been targeted. The village Al Makhnaq (المخنق) in Al Zahir district in the Bayda governorate is located at these coordinates: 14.0141440, 45.3676450. Airwars was unable to verify the location of the other two villages mentioned, or the ‘Jabra area’.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    2 – 10
  • (0–1 children2 men)
  • Civilians reported injured
    0–55
  • 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
    10–43
  • Belligerents reported injured
    0–55

Sources (48) [ collapse]

US Forces Assessment:

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

Original strike reports

US Forces

On April 1st, a US official confirmed the attack, with the Los Angeles Times reporting: ‘American missiles soon rained down. The al Qaeda commander was killed, along with 22 other suspected militants, most of them believed to be young recruits receiving military training, US officials said.’

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    2 – 10
  • (0–1 children2 men)
  • Civilians reported injured
    0–55
  • 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
    10–43
  • Belligerents reported injured
    0–55

Sources (48) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USYEM048-B

Incident date

March 10, 2012

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

Alleged US airstrikes or Yemeni airstrikes in Jaar and Zinjibar on May 10, 2012 reportedly killed up to 24 alleged militants and nine others were injured, with some sources reporting possible civilian casualties. Although initially reported as the work of the Yemen Air Force, a senior Yemen government official told CNN that the attacks were carried out by the US, part of a three-day offensive.

On March 10th 2012, Aden Al-Ghad reported that a correspondent said that the strike hit the neighborhoods surrounding the Almaz Cotton Company. The source reported that the company’s property was being used by “armed groups” to hold “dozens of army soldiers” as prisoners.

The Long War Journal reported that the strike killed 20 in AQAP “hideouts.” According to Reuters, local residents in Jaar reported that the Yemeni air force carried out the strike, and that 20 Al Qaeda fighters were killed. The source reported that the strike impacted a military base previously seized by Al Qaeda from government forces. Al-Bayan reported that 20 were killed in the strikes, with “others wounded.” Local sources alleged that the strike was aimed at military vehicles captured by Al Qaeda. Yahoo News reported that a Yemeni military official said that nine militants were wounded in the strike.

On March 11th 2012 at 10:31am local time, journalist @ionacraig tweeted that a 13 year-old boy was killed in a “recent US drone strike” although it is unclear which strike this is referencing. According to Presstv and National Turk, “local residents rejected the government’s allegations and said that the victims were civilians.” However, this report was referencing three strikes from March 9-11, and did not specify which strike the residents’ claims referred to.

A tweet from @Shuaibalmosawa reported that according to AQAP sources in Abyan the airstrikes in Ja’ar did not hit anybody and instead struck nearby agricultural land.

On March 12th 2012, CNN reported that initially, Yemeni officials declared that the Yemeni air force was behind the strike. However, CNN also reported that a Yemeni official alleged that, since it occurred late in the day, the strike must have been the work of American drones. He claimed that Yemeni forces do not have the capability or training to enact strikes at that time of day.

The incident occured in the evening.

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention the town of Ja’ar (جعار) in the Abyan (أبين‎) governorate, for which the generic coordinates are: 13.223161, 45.305486. 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, 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
    20–24
  • Belligerents reported injured
    9

Sources (22) [ 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
    20–24
  • Belligerents reported injured
    9

Sources (22) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USYEM049-B

Incident date

March 11, 2012

Location

جبل خنفر, Mount (Jabal) Khanfar, Ja'ar, Abyan, Yemen

Geolocation

13.219488, 45.310140 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Neighbourhood/area level. Continue to map

Airwars assessment

An air attack by the US and/or Yemen on a militant-occupied factory where arms were allegedly stored killed three to seven belligerents near Ja’ar the evening of March 11, 2012. Ansar al Sharia, along with other sources, said that US drones carried out the early evening strike, with up to five drones reportedly taking part. Reuters and the Long War Journal reported that the strike hit the hill Jebel Khanfar, next to Jaar. There are currently no known reports of civilian harm.

A senior Yemeni official confirmed the US involvement to CNN: ‘The United States did not inform us on the attacks. We only knew about this after the US attacked.’ However local residents reported that ‘planes’ bombarded the town. Another source, AFP, reported that two missiles were fired ‘from the sea‘. However, no other source corroborated that the strike was of naval origin.

Local sources told Aden Al-Ghad that seven Al Qaeda members were killed. Sources within the “armed groups” confirmed that the strike had taken place, but that three were killed, not seven.

Reuters reported that militants and residents said that the strikes hit a “factory” in the “mountainous area of Jebel Khanfar.” An official told AFP that a large amount of weapons seized by AQAP during an attack against the army that left 185 soldiers earlier this month, were destroyed in the US drone strikes and shelling by the Yemeni military.

A witness told Xinhua that “thick white smoke is rising from the targeted area, and Al Qaeda militants are moving to the mountain to check if there are any casualties.”

On March 12th 2012, Press TV reported that, according to “Yemeni security officials,” the strike was carried out by “five US assassination drones,” and killed six people. The source also stated that local residents rejected the Yemeni government’s claim that the victims were all “militants,” and said that the victims were civilians. However, the source was referring to three different strikes between March 9-11, and did not specify for which strike the residents’ claims referred to.

Most sources included reports that alleged that the strike was carried out by U.S. drones, but some reported that Yemeni aircraft may have been responsible. No belligerent has taken responsibility for the strike, so it remains contested.

The local time of the incident is unknown.

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention Mount (Jabal) Khanfar, overlooking the town of Ja’ar (جعار), for which the coordinates are: 13.219488, 45.310140.

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 attacker
    US Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP)
  • Belligerents reported killed
    3–7

Sources (16) [ collapse]

US Forces Assessment:

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

Original strike reports

US Forces

A senior Yemeni official confirmed the US involvement to CNN: ‘The United States did not inform us on the attacks. We only knew about this after the US attacked.’ However local residents reported that ‘planes’ bombarded the town.

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 attacker
    US Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP)
  • Belligerents reported killed
    3–7

Sources (16) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USYEM050-B

Incident date

March 13, 2012

Location

ٱلْبَيْضَاء‎, Bayda (town), Al 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

USYEM051-B

Incident date

March 18, 2012

Location

مسيمر, Al Musaimeer, near Zinjibar, Abyan, Yemen

Geolocation

13.1194440, 45.3502780 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Village level. Continue to map

Airwars assessment

Alleged Yemeni or US strikes on Al Qaeda positions in north-eastern Zinjibar, Abyan province, allegedly killed 14 to 18 belligerents and injured dozens of others on 18 March 2012, sources said. There are currently no reports of civilian harm, though one source, Xinhua, stated that an anonymous Yemen official stated that “it was not clear whether there were any civilian casualties.” Additionally, an unnamed witness told Xinhua that the shelling demolished more than four houses in the center of Jaar city, forcing many people to flee their homes.

According to Dawn News, a local official reported that “many bases of Al Qaeda were destroyed,” and 16 jihadists were killed while Xinhua provided a higher casualty toll, stating that “at least 18 terrorists” were killed and dozens were injured, without specifying exactly how many were injured.

Reiterating this news, the Yemen Times also reported that heavy shelling had targeted fields and badly damaged crops: “We are not sure whether Yemeni aircraft or US unmanned drones are responsible for the airstrikes,” one farmer told the Yemen Times.

Reuters called the strike a “naval bombardment”, and the Long War Journal surmised that “If missiles were indeed fired from the sea (and we have no confirmation of this, only the word of an anonymous Yemeni official), then they were most likely fired by US Navy warships. The Yemeni Navy does not possess the capacity to conduct such strikes; its missile boats and corvettes fire only anti-ship missiles.”

Xinhua reported a local Yemen official as confirming it was a joint US Naval – Yemen Air Force offensive, but placed the naval bombardment at nearby Jaar.

The local time of the incident is unknown.

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention the area or village of Al Musaimeer (مسيمر) around the town Zinjibar (زنجبار‎). The coordinates for this village are: 13.1194440, 45.3502780. 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, Drone Strike, Naval bombardment
  • Civilian infrastructure
    Agriculture
  • 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
    14–18
  • Belligerents reported injured
    12–24

Sources (7) [ 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 infrastructure
    Agriculture
  • 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
    14–18
  • Belligerents reported injured
    12–24

Sources (7) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USYEM052-C

Incident date

March 18, 2012

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

One civilian was reported injured and eight militants were killed in alleged Yemeni or US airstrikes carried out on the city of Jaar on March 18th 2012, in the governorate of Abyan. According to an Associated Press (AP) report published in the Washington Times, the civilian was injured when a post office being used as a temporary hospital was hit during the airstrikes.

The airstrikes on Jaar were part of a series of other missile strikes carried out against Al Qaeda positions throughout the province of Abyan including strikes on Zinjibar, the capital city of the governorate.

One witness told Xinhua that several residential buildings were damaged in the airstrikes, including four houses in the centre of Jaar which were “demolished”. However, Al Arabiya reported that while civilians in the city of Jaar were forced to flee their homes, “there were no immediate reports of people killed.”

Whilst the airstrikes were initially reported as having been conducted by Yemeni aircraft, an investigation by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism has cast doubt on this fact. The investigation found that the Yemeni Air Force (YAF) was decrepit and inadequate and “had not been functioning in ages” mainly due to endemic corruption, according to a Yemeni analyst. Additionally, at least one source, including a tweet from @sowtalthowra, referred to the strikes as coming from the sea, and we know there was reportedly at least one US warship in the region at the time.

The local time of the incident is unknown.

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention that a post office used as a hospital was targeted in the town of Ja’ar (جعار). Due to limited information and satellite imagery available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location of this post office. The generic coordinates for the town of Ja’ar (جعار) are: 13.223161, 45.305486.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Contested strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Naval bombardment
  • Civilian infrastructure
    Healthcare facility
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    0
  • Civilians reported injured
    1
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Weak
    Single source claim, though sometimes featuring significant information.
  • Suspected attackers
    US Forces, Yemeni Air Force
  • Suspected target
    Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP)
  • Belligerents reported killed
    8

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, Naval bombardment
  • Civilian infrastructure
    Healthcare facility
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    0
  • Civilians reported injured
    1
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Weak
    Single source claim, though sometimes featuring significant information.
  • Suspected attackers
    US Forces, Yemeni Air Force
  • Suspected target
    Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP)
  • Belligerents reported killed
    8

Sources (9) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USYEM053-B

Incident date

March 21–22, 2012

Location

زنجبار‎, Zinjibar, Abyan, Yemen

Geolocation

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

Airwars assessment

According to local Yemen officials, three areas in Zinjibar were struck by alleged US drone strikes or Yemeni military strikes, killing 29 to 30 Al Qaeda fighters and wounding dozens others on March 22, 2012.

The website Arab Monitor stated that “dozens” were wounded in the attacks, which targeted alleged Al Qaeda bases. No other sources specified how many militants were wounded in the strikes. Witnesses also said that a “warplane also fired a missile at three vehicles of the Al Qaeda group in downtown Zinjibar carrying foreign fighters”.

Associated Press reported that 29 militants had been killed in a “rocket and artillery barrage, spread out over a 24-hour period” which ended on the night of Thursday March 22nd.

Naval vessels also allegedly took part in the extended bombardment, which some sources claimed were the work of the US Navy. The Pentagon later said that: “No American warships from the service’s Fifth Fleet or elsewhere in the region were involved in those operations.”

Akhbarelyoum reported that Yemeni military officials said that the strikes were carried out by the Yemeni Navy from boats in the Arabian Sea, and killed 29 Al Qaeda militants.

Xinhua reported that the strike was carried out by a U.S. drone, and killed “at least 30 fighters.” The source reported that the strike hit “two positions in Zinjibar city” as well as three vehicles in downtown Zinjibar. The source reported that the strike followed the suspected Al Qaeda killing of a Yemeni military officer.

Arab Monitor reported that US drones carried out the strike, and killed at least 30 people. This source also reported that both static positions and vehicles were struck. The vehicles were reported to be driving through the city centre. The source also stated that the strikes followed a killing of a “senior Yemeni Intelligence officer” the day before by armed fighters.

@Albaidanews tweeted that Ansar al-Sharia, the group that includes Al Qaeda’s arm in Yemen, denied that any fighters were killed in the strike.

While Arab Monitor reported that the strikes were carried out by US drones, Akhbarelyoum identified the Yemeni Navy as being responsible for the bombardment. The Associated Press put the death toll at 29 Al Qaeda fighters, while Xinhua reported 30 fighters killed. No source reported any civilian harm.

The local time of the incident is unknown.

Geolocation notes

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

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
    29–30
  • Belligerents reported injured
    12–24

Sources (15) [ 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
    29–30
  • Belligerents reported injured
    12–24

Sources (15) [ collapse]