According to news reports and local sources, between three and seven militants were killed in a series of five alleged US drone strikes close to the village of Kharama, between the towns of Azzan and Huta in Shabwa province on the evening of the 16th of April, 2012. The strikes were conducted within the mountainous region of Salb Al-Ain against a number of different Al Qaeda positions.
Whilst the Yemen Defence Ministry initially claimed that the attacks were carried out by Yemeni warplanes, two security officials and another from the Yemen Defence Ministry later told CNN that the strikes were conducted by US drones. CNN reported that the five different strikes were made against “hideouts, checkpoints, training facilities, and weapons warehouses,” and Barakish specifically referred to an Al Qaeda point at the Azzan Al-Houta junction as being hit in the strikes..”
These facts were supported by other news outlets such as Mareb Press and Sana News. Xinhua and local sources additionally reported that a car carrying Al Qaeda militants was hit by missiles launched from a US drone as the car travelled from Kharama to the town of Azzan. Local sources told “Al-Masdar Online” that the strikes occured at an agricultural area located between the city of Azzan and Kour Ahl Hadaj called “Salb Al-Ain Farms” belonging to the Badian Al-Numan tribe.
Mareb Press and several local sources also stated that the militants killed were specifically members of the al-Qaeda linked ‘Ansar al-Sharia’ group. On the 17th of April, Xinhua reported a statement issued by an al-Qaeda spokesman who acknowledged that three of their fighters had been killed in a “US drone raid”. However, multiple sources, including @binlznmalawlaqy, put the death toll at seven militants killed.
Xinhua further stated that foreign militants were killed in the strikes, including one Syrian and an Algerian, according to a Yemeni intelligence officer. The fact that foreign fighters were killed in the attacks was also supported by several different local sources. The ‘Long War Journal’ similarly stated that the ‘Madad News Agency’, the propaganda arm of AQAP (Al Qaeda on the Arab Peninsula) announced on the 25th of April that an Egyptian jihadist known as Abu Musab al-Masri was killed “a week ago in an American bombing between the cities of Azzan and al-Hotah in Shabwa province”, an indication that al-Masri may have been killed in the drone strikes on the 16th of April.
No civilians were reported to have been killed or injured in the strikes.
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 in the evening.
Sources (27) [ collapse]
Geolocation notes (1) [ collapse]
Reports of the incident mention the area or village of Kharama (or Karma) (الـخـرمـة) between the towns of Azzan (عزان) and Huta (الحوطة). The coordinates for the village Kharama (الـخـرمـة) are: 14.360845, 47.414316. Due to limited information and satellite imagery available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further.