An array of news organizations, military sources, and local witnesses have described an attack by a suspected American drone that killed between five and eight members of Al Qaeda in Jaar in the Abyan governate, located in southern Yemen, between May 9 and May 10, 2012. A local source described hearing three explosions around midnight, and the strike left the bodies of targeted extremists “in pieces” (dawn.com).
The French Press Agency noted the same local source as quoted in Rum News (Jordan) that the apparent drone struck a house in Jaar in which Al Qaeda members were holding a meeting. One of the confirmed dead was “Jallad”, sometimes listed as “al-Galadi”, the nickname for the “Minister of Arms” of local Al Qaeda affiliated groups. A tweet from @jenanmoussa also mentioned that “A founding father of #Ansar AlSharia @ #Abyan (#AQAP affiliate) Khaldoon Sayyid” was killed in the same incident, and almotamar.net added that leader Abu Hudhaifa Al-San`ani was also killed. Khaldoon Sayyid (who is from the Aden governorate, “Khawr Maksar”) is considered the second man in the Al Qaeda organization in Abyan governorate and he is considered the financial official of the organization in the governorate.
The home struck by the drone was a two-story home located in a residential neighborhood, but no reports of civilian injuries or deaths were noted. The accuracy of this strike is credited to American drones, as Yemeni military officials stated that only America has this type of deadly aircraft in the area, according to an article published in DW (Germany). Yemen’s Defense Minister, Major General Muhammad Nasser Ahmed, released a statement reported by Saba, the official Yemeni news agency, boasting of his country’s efforts to defeat terrorist groups within their borders.
This strike was supported by reports on Twitter from Nabeel Alodani (@imc_r), Flashpoint (@FlashpointIntel), and Yemen Updates (@Yemen_Updates), while Mareb News reported that the targets were specifically related to Ansar al-Sharia, an Al Qaeda affiliate that has controlled Jaar for nearly a year at the time of the bombing. Almotamar.net described the attack as targeted “ten of most dangerous leaders of Al Qaeda” but did not offer more details about the event. National Post was the only news agency to note that the strike, while believed to be carried out by an American drone, was “coordinated by Yemen President Abdrabuh Mansur Hadi, as well as by military and intelligence leaders”. There was a discrepancy concerning the number of dead, as AP reported that only five people were killed in the initial strike in Ja’ar.
Almotamar.net reported that “Al-Qaeda organization admitted that four of its terrorist operatives were killed in the air raid that targeted the organization’s sites in Jaar district yesterday, Wednesday, denying the presence of two leaders among the dead, which contradicts the information obtained by Almotamar.net from its sources and confirmed by local sources in the region.”
A month prior to his current strike, The Washington Post reported a request made by the CIA to the White House for the allowance of more drone strikes in Yemen. This request was granted by the Obama administration.
The incident occured around midnight.
Sources (25) [ collapse]
Reports of the incident mention that several hideouts of Al Qaeda were struck in the town of Ja’ar (جعار), including compounds, a house and a school. Reports also mention the area of Al Husn (الحصن), which points to a village north of the town of Ja’ar (جعار), to be found here: 13.2930322, 45.2953717. Due to limited information and satellite imagery available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the specific locations of the strikes. The coordinates for the town of Ja’ar (جعار) are: 13.223161, 45.305486.