One local language source, Aden al-Hadath, reported that according to local residents, a drone strike had targeted a school in Khabr al-Maraqisha, Abyan governorate, on March 2nd 2017. There were no known reports of civilian casualties.
On the same day, multiple US airstrikes and alleged troop landings were reported, as part of a combined arms operation against AQAP in the area or town of Mogan, also in al-Maraqisha area, Abyan. This operation is separately detailed in entries USYEMTr015 and USYEMTr016.
It is possible that this reported strike was part of the operation in Mogan; according to a correspondent of Al-Ain News Portal, local witnesses said that American forces “targeted an Al-Qaeda training camp in a school in Mogan Al-Hasinah area in Abyan Governorate”.
This strike allegedly took place amid the dramatic intensification of US operations against AQAP. 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 that 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 total death toll on March 2nd varied; on March 3rd, Reuters reported that Thursday’s strikes left “at least nine” dead, while officials speaking with the Associated Press said that seven alleged militants had been killed.
The local time of the incident is unknown.
Sources (5) [ collapse]
Reports of the incident mention the village of Al Khabr (الخبر), for which the coordinates are: 13.438103, 46.170985. 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
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.