An alleged Yemeni security forces strike or US airstrike reportedly struck two vehicles in Al Ajasher between Sa’ada and Jawf province. Multiple sources reported the alleged air strike took place in the afternoon of January 15th 2010. Initially sources reported that up to seven alleged AQAP militants had been killed in the strike. However later sources disagreed on belligerents being killed, with an AQAP source stating that militants were only injured. No civilian harm was reported.
Al- Arabiya reported: “Two cars carrying eight dangerous Al Qaeda members were hit in an area between Saada and Al-Jawf,” the source said, adding, “Perhaps two survived and managed to escape.”
Al-Arabiya named Ayed al-Shabwani and Abdullah Hadi al-Tais as being killed in the incident. Almotamar added the names of Ammar Ubada Al-Waili and Saleh Al-Tais as hit in the strike but Al- Arabiya quoted a Yemeni security source who said that Ammar and Saleh survived the strikes.
Critical threats journalists also named Abu Ayman al Masri as being killed in the alleged strike however Jamestown later reported he had survived and later been arrested in August 2010: “Kuwaiti daily recently published a transcript of the interrogation of Shaykh Ibrahim Muhammad Salih al-Banna (a.k.a. Abu Ayman al-Masri), the Egyptian former intelligence chief of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) who was arrested in early August (al-Jarida, November 4; almethaq.net, August 16).”
Initial sources also named Qassem Al-Rimi as being killed in the alleged strike however it was later reported by multiple sources that he also survived.
Multiple sources corroborated that the named belligerents were high profile men in the Al Qaeda network however Reuters reported that the Yemeni branch of Al Qaeda denied that any of their men had been killed in the alleged strike: ‘”The latest of these claims is that it killed six of them between the provinces of al-Jawf and Saada. We assure our Muslim nation that none of the Mujahideen were killed in that strike, but some have suffered mild injuries.”’ Given this, the number of belligerents reported to have been killed is between 0-7.
The Novak blog added “AQAP alleged the Yemeni government was engaged in a propaganda campaign to deceive the United States in order to justify increased counter-terror funding from the US and other Western nations.”
Involvement of the US has been questioned in multiple sources. The NYtimes reported: “It was not clear whether the airstrike was carried out with help or coordination from the United States, which has provided firepower and intelligence for some recent raids on Al Qaeda’s Yemen-based affiliate.” The source added context that the US involvement in Yemen had been complicated due to “the specter of American intervention arouses anger in Yemen and has been used by Al Qaeda to recruit new members.” The Long War Journal reported that: “Intelligence officials contacted by The Long War Journal would not comment on the strike.” Given the precision nature of the strike on two moving vehicles, and the limitations of the Yemeni air force, it seems unlikely that the Yemeni air force carried out the strikes.
The incident occured at approximately 2:30 pm local time.
Sources (18) [ collapse]
Reports of the incident mention the area of Al Ajashar (الاجاشر), for which the generic coordinates are: 17.183333, 44.800000. Due to limited satellite imagery and information available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further.