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.
Sources (16) [ collapse]
Reports of the incident mention Mount (Jabal) Khanfar, overlooking the town of Ja’ar (جعار), for which the coordinates are: 13.219488, 45.310140.
US Forces Assessment:
Original strike reports
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.