Civilian Casualties

Civilian Casualties

Incident Code

USYEM102-B

Incident date

June 13, 2012

Location

عزان, Azzan, Shabwa, Yemen

Geolocation

14.3267791, 47.4475743 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Town level. Continue to map

Airwars assessment

Between 27 and 40 militants were reported to have been killed and “dozens” others were injured in a series of alleged U.S. drone strikes or Yemeni airstrikes in and around the town of Azzan in Shabwa governorate on the morning of the 13th of June, 2012. However, a a spokesperson for Ansar al-Sharia alleged that no deaths or injuries resulted from the strikes.

The total number of militants reported killed in the alleged strikes varied across a number of different media sources and news outlets. Wefaq Press quoted “local sources in Shabwa governorate” who claimed that at least “forty Al Qaeda terrorists were killed and number of others injured in raids carried out by U.S.drones on al-Qaeda sites in the Azzan region”. Wefaq Press also referred to comments made on the strikes by General Dr. Ahmed Al-Maqdashi, Director of Security in Shabwa Governorate. According to Wefaq Press, General Al-Maqdashi stated that 30 militants had been killed in three separate strikes and elaborated that “the first airstrike targeted a building housing a large group of terrorists, the second targeted another group at a point in the Azzan-Al-Houta junction, and the third strike targeted the yard of a house where cars and equipment belonging to Al Qaeda were located.” A report by Agence France-Presse (AFP) quoted a “local official” who, speaking on condition of anonymity, stated that the first strike, carried out against a building in Azzan, had killed nine militants. This is a claim also made by a report on the strikes written by the Associated Press (AP), and is further corroborated by several local sources. The specific numbers of deaths resulting from the second and third strikes (conducted against the Azzan-Al-Houta Junction, and a yard of parked vehicles, respectively) remain unclear.

Reuters quoted a senior Yemeni official who claimed that just two airstrikes had been carried out, resulting in the deaths of “at least 27 militants.” Reuters also reported that a local resident in Azzan had observed that “at least one strike was carried out by a drone.” It should be noted however, that the Yemen Post reported the airstrikes as having been carried out by “government warplanes”, rather than by U.S. drones. The Yemeni news outlet Aden al-Ghad provided additional details on the first of the strikes, stating that eyewitnesses had claimed that the house which was destroyed was “believed to be a weapons store” belonging to militants.

Several other individual local sources acknowledged and reported the strikes: @m123_4u stated that there had been seven separate “U.S. airstrikes in Azzan, Mayfa’a district, Shabwa governorate, killing 33 al-Qaeda members”, @WADEE_SHAIBANI reported that “twenty missiles from unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) fell in the areas of Azzan, Kharma Junction and Khalaf.” Additionally, @Salmanahomidy reported only two airstrikes, but specifically stated that the attacks were conducted against members of the Al Qaeda affiliated group ‘Ansar al-Sharia’ within the Azzan district.

On the 14th of June, the newspaper Yafa’a reported a statement made by a spokesperson for Ansar al-Sharia who was reported to have said that “the bombing dropped ten missiles without any casualties or injuries, praise be to God,” and further stated that “at 6:45 a.m. U.S. drones began launching five raids on separate areas of Azzan, with a time difference of about ten minutes between each raid.” The spokesperson said that the first strike had hit an empty house close to Al-Razi Medical Clinic on the main road of Azzan, destroying the house and damaging a nearby mosque. Aljazeera also reported the statement issued by Ansar al-Sharia, adding that several local sources specifically said that “American drone aircraft” had carried out the attacks.

These alleged drone strikes occurred as Yemeni military forces were making a concerted effort to force Al Qaeda linked militants from the town of Azzan, one of their final strongholds following their recent expulsion from the key cities of Zinjibar and Ja’ar.

The incident occured in the morning.

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention that the airstrike destroyed a house and damaged a nearby mosque in the town of Azzan (عزان). Due to limited information and satellite imagery available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location of these buildings. The generic coordinates for the town of Azzan (عزان) are: 14.3267791, 47.4475743.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Contested strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    No
  • Civilians reported killed
    0
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Suspected attackers
    US Forces, Yemeni Air Force
  • Suspected target
    Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP)
  • Belligerents reported killed
    0–40
  • Belligerents reported injured
    0–24

Sources (25) [ collapse]

US Forces Assessment:

  • Suspected belligerent
    US Forces
  • US Forces position on incident
    Not yet assessed

Yemeni Air Force Assessment:

  • Suspected belligerent
    Yemeni Air Force
  • Yemeni Air Force position on incident
    Not yet assessed

Summary

  • Strike status
    Contested strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    No
  • Civilians reported killed
    0
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Suspected attackers
    US Forces, Yemeni Air Force
  • Suspected target
    Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP)
  • Belligerents reported killed
    0–40
  • Belligerents reported injured
    0–24

Sources (25) [ collapse]