On June 25th, 2012, a declared US drone strike hit two vehicles in the outskirts of Aden in Bir Hamid at dawn. Three alleged AQAP members were killed, while several others were wounded. There are currently no known reports of civilian harm.
The identities of those killed were not reported, but a source told the BBC that “among the dead was a prominent leader in the organization”. A security official said a drone fired two missiles on a convoy which destroyed their pick-up truck, and killed the three militants believed to be affiliated with Al Qaeda including one senior commander. A US intelligence official confirmed American involvement to The Long War Journal, but would not say if a CIA or military drone carried out the strikes.
Additionally, Marebpress, BBC and Yemen Post mentioned that several militants were left wounded. Locals told Yemen Fox that they heard explosions and saw flames rising, but saw no bodies, adding that “other militants came and entered the area believed to pick up bodies of their colleagues.”
Military officials said the vehicles had been pursued by US drones, causing fear among local residents who worried the drones would bring destruction to their region. The vehicle was targeted on a desert road on the edge of the strategically important city of Aden. The convoy was hit as it travelled away from Abyan province.
A security official speaking anonymously to Xinhua said that “Two missiles bombed an Al Qaeda convoy, destroying a small pick-up truck and killing all passengers inside,” the security official said, adding that “They were coming from neighbouring Abyan province, where army troops seized control of the Al Qaeda bastions.
The BBC, Xinhua and the Long War Journal reported that this was the first strike in Aden.
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 morning.
Sources (14) [ collapse]
Reports of the incident mention that the strike occurred on a desert road in the Beer Hameed (Bir Hamid/Bir Humayd) (بئر حميد) area, in the outskirts of the port city Aden (عدن). The vehicle that was targeted was traveling from the neighbouring Abyan province towards Aden. The generic coordinates for the Bir Hamid (بئر حميد) area are: 13.0327780, 44.9158330. Due to limited information and satellite imagery available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further.
US Forces Assessment:
Original strike reports
Long War Journal, June 26th, 2012:
"A US intelligence official contacted by The Long War Journal confirmed the strike, but would not comment on the nature of the target; nor would the official say if the attack was carried out by the CIA or the US military."