On January 25th 2017, a US spokesperson confirmed that a strike took place in al-Bayda governorate on January 20th, killing one AQAP operative. This confirmed reports that a US drone strike in al-Suma’a district, Bayda governorate, killed at least one alleged AQAP militant on that afternoon. There were no known reports of civilian harm. January 20th 2017 marked the first day of Donald Trump’s presidency.
Several reports, from sources including @demolinari and Nashwa News, named the alleged AQAP member killed as “leader” Abu Anas Al-Ibbi, who AFP reported to be a “local military instructor” for AQAP. Others, including Sky News Arabia, described the person killed as a “moderate” leader in AQAP.
Some sources, however, later suggested that Al-Ibbi was killed in a further strike on January 21st 2020. Lime Charlie News indicated that Al-Ibbi was killed on January 21st, but also described the person killed in the strike a day prior as “a militia organizer and trainer of militia members”, matching AFP’s description of Al-Ibbi as an “instructor”. According to Lima Charlie News, the “high value target” killed on January 20th resided in a small building behind a Madressa, and the target’s whereabouts was confirmed by “assets” on the ground prior to the strike.
An AQAP statement later confirmed that “brother jihadist” Abu Anas Al-Ibbi had been killed by a US drone strike on the afternoon of January 20th. Twitter sources, including @demolinari and @yemencurrent, indicated that the strike targeted a car in the area, and the latter specified that it took place at around 11:50 AM.
On January 23rd 2017, a US military spokesperson stated that three airstrikes had targeted AQAP militants in al-Bayda governorate from the 20th to the 22nd, killing five.
Although the strike occurred on the same day as the inauguration of the US president, the Washington Post reported Pentagon spokesperson Navy Captain Jeff Davis as saying that they (three strikes confirmed by the US) did not require approval by recently appointed Defense Secretary James Mattis or of new President Donald Trump.
The incident occured in the afternoon.
Sources (22) [ collapse]
Geolocation notes (2) [ collapse]
Reports of the incident mention a strike on a vehicle in the district of Al Suma’a (مديرية الصومعة). Yemen Current (@yemencurrent) alleged that the exact coordinates for this incident are: 14.238230, 45.833603, we can confirm that this location is within the district mentioned, however, due to limited information available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further.
US Forces Assessment:
Original strike reports
The U.S. military conducted strikes on al-Qa'ida in the Arabian Peninsula operatives in central Yemen on Jan. 20, 21 and 22.
On Jan. 20, one strike killed an AQAP operative in the al-Baydah Governorate.
On Jan. 21, one strike killed three AQAP operatives in the al-Baydah Governorate.
On Jan. 22, one strike killed an AQAP operative in the al-Baydah Governorate.
"Strikes against al-Qa'ida operatives in Yemen put consistent pressure on the terrorist network and prevent them from plotting and executing attacks against the U.S. and our allies," said Army Maj. Josh T. Jacques, a U.S. Central Command spokesman. "AQAP remains a significant threat to the region, the United States, and beyond."
The CENTCOM mission is to direct and enable military operations and activities with allies and partners to increase regional security and stability in support of enduring U.S. interests.
"U.S. Central Command remains committed to defeating AQAP and denying it safe havens in Yemen," Jacques said.