On January 25th 2017, a US spokesperson stated that a strike in al-Bayda governorate on January 21st had killed three “AQAP operatives”. This confirmed reports that a drone strike had targeted a vehicle in Suma’a district on that evening. There were no known reports of civilian casualties.
A number of public sources had earlier reported that a US drone strike on 21st January hit a car in Sama’a district, Bayda province, killing a number of AQAP members.
US Central Command later confirmed that a strike on 21st January had killed three AQAP members, as part of a three officially acknowledged strikes between January 20th and 22nd. One source suggested that a pickup truck was struck twice by Hellfire missiles. Though most local sources corroborated that three had been killed in the strike, the New York Times reported on 22nd January that seven AQAP militants had been killed in a strike against a vehicle.
Some sources claimed that the attack had resulted in the death of Abu Anis al-Abi, a local AQAP leader, though others, including AQAP itself, asserted that he had died in an earlier strike on January 20th.
Although these strikes marked the first of the new Trump administration in Yemen, the Washington Post cited Pentagon spokesperson Navy Captain Jeff Davis as saying that the actions had not required approval by recently appointed Defense Secretary James Mattis or from President Donald Trump.
The local time of the incident is unknown.
Sources (29) [ collapse]
from sources (2) [ collapse]
Geolocation notes (1) [ collapse]
Reports of the incident mention a strike on a vehicle in the district of Al Suma’a (مديرية الصومعة), for which the generic coordinates are: 14.166667, 45.831111. Due to limited satellite imagery and information available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further.
United States Armed Forces Assessment:
Original strike reports
TAMPA, Fla. — 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.