On the afternoon of May 16th 2012 in Jabal (Mount) Yasuf in the Abyan province, Yemen, 16 militants, allegedly members of Al Qaeda, were killed and between five and 14 others were injured in two airstrikes allegedly orchestrated by the Yemeni air force and carried out by Yemeni fighter jets with possible assistance from the US Navy.
Nashwan News referenced an official military source in the Yemeni Ministry of Defense confirming strikes in the Abyan governorate. Fox News also referenced officials confirming the occurrence of Yemeni airstrikes in the Abyan province, which hit a farm in Moudia 40 kilometers east of the town of Lawder, killing 16 alleged militants including top local commander Samir al-Fathani. Samir al-Fathani’s brother Abdul Munim al Fathani was involved in the bombing of the USS Cole reported AP. He was killed in a drone strike in January 2012 (USYEM046-B).
The same source confirmed US assistance in coordinating airstrikes and assaults in the area according to local officials, but there is no confirmation of their involvement in these specific strikes. However, witnesses told AFP that the US Navy was also involved in the attacks although the naval bombardment was not confirmed by official sources.
A local military official told Xinhua news that fighter jets belonging to the Yemeni air forces hit two Al Qaeda squads, killing 16 alleged militants and injuring five. The official also said “[t]he Al Qaeda militants were attacked while they were gathering for lunch in a mountainous area, Hidaan, east of Lauder town.”
Multiple local and Western sources, local residents and local officials have confirmed the location of the strikes in Abyan province and the killing of 16 alleged militants as a result of those strikes. A spokesperson from the Popular Resistance Committees, a local militia, also confirmed the killing of 16 alleged militants in Abyan Province and the wounding of 14. It is alleged that between 5-14 belligerents were wounded by the strikes, with the majority of sources, such as AFP citing the number injured as 14.
The attack came amid a concerted offensive by the Yemeni armed forces in Abyan province. As many as 20,000 soldiers were reportedly involved in the push, with assistance from US special forces.
The incident occured in the afternoon.
Sources (8) [ collapse]
Geolocation notes (1) [ collapse]
Reports of the incident mention that the airstrike targeted a farm in the area of Jabal (Mount) Yasuf (جبل يسوف), just east of the town Lawdar (لودر) in the Abyan (أبين) governorate. One source mentions that the farm was located in Moudia (مودية), which is further east. One other source reports that the strike took place in a mountainous area called ‘Hidaan’, east of Lawdar, however, we were unable to find the location of this area. The coordinates for the area of Jabal (Mount) Yasuf (جبل يسوف) are: 13.894167, 45.889444.