Multiple sources alleged that four al-Qaeda militants were killed in a US drone strike in al-Saeed, Shabwa province.
Al Arabi for example reported that a car was targeted in Shabwa at dawn on March 2nd 2017, as it was travelling “towards the road linking the towns of Ahur and Shakra”. There were no known reports of civilian harm.
A tribal source told Al-Ain that the dead were named “Awad Ali Barasin, Saleh Ali Nasser Al-Ateeqi, Abu Bakr Barasin, and Awad Muhammad Barasin”.
This strike allegedly took place amid a dramatic intensification of US operations against AQAP in March 2017. On March 2nd, Pentagon spokesman Captain Jeff Davies announced “more than 20 strikes targeted AQAP militants, equipment and infrastructure in the Yemeni governorates of Abyan, Al Bayda and Shabwah” early that morning.
On March 3rd, the Associated Press reported that Yemeni officials and residents said the US had conducted “dozens of airstrikes on al-Qaida targets in Yemen overnight and in the past 48 hours in one of the lengthiest, sustained operations inside this conflict-torn Arab country”. A US military intelligence source told NBC News that the strikes were “part of ‘new directives’ to aggressively pursue the Dhahab and Qayfa clans”.
Estimates of the overall total death toll on March 2nd varied. On March 3rd, Reuters reported that Thursday’s strikes had left “at least nine” dead, while officials speaking with the Associated Press said that seven alleged militants had been killed.
The incident occured around dawn.
Sources (7) [ collapse]
Reports of the incident mention a vehicle being struck in the countryside surrounding the town of Al Said (الصعيد), on a road leading to the highway between Ahwar (أحور) and Shorqa (شقرة). Due to limited satellite imagery and information available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further. The generic coordinates for Al Said are: 14.329436, 46.873768
United States Armed Forces Assessment:
Original strike reports
U.S. forces conducted a series of precision strikes in Yemen against al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, or AQAP, in the early morning of March 2 (Yemen time). More than 20 strikes targeted AQAP militants, equipment and infrastructure in the Yemeni governorates of Abyan, Al Bayda and Shabwah.
The strikes were conducted in partnership with the Government of Yemen, and were coordinated with President Hadi. The Government of Yemen is a valuable counter-terrorism partner, and we support its efforts to bring stability to the region by fighting known terrorist organizations like AQAP.
The strikes will degrade the AQAP's ability to coordinate external terror attacks and limit their ability to use territory seized from the legitimate government of Yemen as a safe space for terror plotting. Targets of the strikes included militants, equipment, infrastructure, heavy weapons systems and fighting positions.
AQAP has taken advantage of ungoverned spaces in Yemen to plot, direct, and inspire terror attacks against the United States and our allies. U.S. forces will continue to work with the Government of Yemen to defeat AQAP and deny it the ability to operate in Yemen.