Between 10 and 15 militants linked to Al Qaeda were killed in an alleged Yemeni airstrike or US drone strike just north of the town of Jaar on the 2nd of May, 2012.
Whilst Xinhua stated a local resident had claimed that 10 militants in total had been killed in the airstrike, CNN reported that ‘local security officials’ had stated that 13 suspected militants died in the attack. The Associated Press (AP), in addition to other local sources, claimed the number to be fifteen. Similarly, Itijah made reference to a report by the BBC in which “army officials” were quoted as saying that 15 militants had been killed.
Al-Masdar Online and Itijah both reported that the airstrike was conducted against locations where Al Qaeda militants had been preparing trenches. Al-Masdar Online further stated that these positions were specifically located in the Masnaa area, whilst also citing the BBC report which said that the airstrike had been conducted against a militant “training camp”.
Although the deployment of drones in this airstrike cannot be confirmed, a report by the Associated Press (AP), stated that the airstrike “resembled earlier US drone attacks, but the US did not comment.” Yemen Voice News also reported that “security officials” had said that “a US drone bombed a training site belonging to Al Qaeda in southern Yemen, killing 13 people believed to be militants.” Despite the indications of the involvement of US drones, Xinhua quoted a local resident in Jaar who claimed that the Yemen Air Force (YAF) had carried out the attack.
On the 2nd of May, the day of the airstrike, Xinhua further stated that fierce fighting had erupted in the area after Al Qaeda militants attacked a checkpoint manned by “pro-government tribesmen” referred to by Al-Masdar Online and Itijah as the ‘Popular Committees’. Al-Masdar Online also stated that this checkpoint was specifically located within the area of Shoht, to the north of Jaar.
A Yemeni presidential aide, quoted by CNN and Yemen Voice News, acknowledged that at least two US aircraft had been carrying out “attacks daily since mid-April in southern areas controlled by Al Qaeda fighters.” He went on to say that this was part of a strategy to remove al-Qaeda’s roots in the areas it controlled.
Whilst there were no reports of civilians killed or injured in the airstrike, Associated Press (AP) reported that the al-Qaeda “training camp” which had been hit was set up around an abandoned munitions factory. The factory later “exploded killing at least 100 people. The blast was ignited when impoverished townspeople entered the factory in the aftermath (of the airstrike) to try and haul away anything of value that remained.”
The local time of the incident is unknown.
Sources (16) [ collapse]
from sources (1) [ collapse]
Reports of the incident mention that a militant’s camp was targeted north of the town of Ja’ar (جعار), in the governorate of Abyan (أبين). The coordinates for the area north of the town of Ja’ar (جعار) are: 13.261200, 45.298790. Due to limited information and satellite imagery available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further.