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.
Sources (31) [ collapse]
from sources (1) [ collapse]
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.
US Forces Assessment:
Original strike reports
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.