Civilian Casualties

Civilian Casualties

Incident Code

USYEM113-B

Incident date

July 23, 2012

Location

المحفد, Mahfad, Abyan, Yemen

Geolocation

14.060462, 46.914385 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Town level. Continue to map

Airwars assessment

On the night of July 23rd 2012 around 11pm, alleged US or Yemeni warplanes launched two strikes against two supposed Al Qaeda hideouts in the al-Mahfad district in the south of the Abyan Province; five alleged Al Qaeda militants were killed in these strikes according to the Associated Press. Local twitter users and a local news source Mareb Press reported that the strikes hit areas that local Bedouin communities use for their animals to graze without specifying if there were any civilian casualties.

Suhail News tweeted: “News about the damage to Bedouin gatherings in the area: Warplanes launch air strikes on al-Qaeda sites in the Al-Mahfad district in Abyan”. A twitter user under the handle nasserbasser tweeted that:  “Air strikes in Al-Mahfad target citizens’ livestock instead of (Al Qaeda) members”. Mareb Press reported in an article that local sources informed them that warplanes bombed a “narrow” area in Mahfad where Al Qaeda militants had taken refuge after leaving the cities of the Abyan and Shabwa governorates. Militants announced their presence in al Mahfad after their withdrawal from the cities months ago. Mareb Press reported that their local sources believe some missiles may have fallen on some of the Bedouin communities who use the area for grazing.

Associated Press reported that Yemeni warplanes killed at least 5 Al Qaeda militants in overnight strikes on Al Qaeda hideouts in southern Abyan Province, according to a local security official. They also reported this official as saying that the attacks late on Monday, the 23rd July 2012, were concentrated in the al-Mahfad district where militants had retreated to after being driven out from their strongholds in the city of Zinjibar and the nearby town of Jaar, both of which the army recaptured from militants two months ago.

The area is said to be the last geographic stronghold of AQAP and Ansar al-Sharia, and Associated Press reported Yemeni media as saying that “the militants were consolidating their positions in al-Mahfad, quoting witnesses who said they saw military hardware headed to the area in in trucks.”

Although the attacks were attributed to the Yemen Air Force it is known not to have the technical capability to carry out such strikes. US aircraft and armed drones may therefore have been responsible.

The incident occured during the night.

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention the town of Mahfad (المحفد), for which the generic coordinates are: 14.060462, 46.914385. Due to limited information and satellite imagery available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Contested strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian infrastructure
    Agriculture
  • 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
    5

Sources (7) [ 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
  • Civilian infrastructure
    Agriculture
  • 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
    5

Sources (7) [ collapse]