Multiple sources reported that several US airstrikes targeted alleged AQAP militants in the Sama’a district of Bayda governorate at dawn on March 2nd 2017. There were no reports on any casualties.
Several sources suggested that more than thirty airstrikes took place. According to al-Ain, the strikes were conducted by American F-16 jets and helicopters, while other sources claimed that strikes were also conducted by drones. Several sources indicated that these raids focused on Wadi Saeed, Ja’ar district of Sama’a, as well as the ‘Khishna’ area.
One local source, speaking with Russia Today Arabic, indicated that the strikes were distributed across the Saeed district of Sama’a, “as well as several other mountain sites near the Directorate’s cemetery”. According to Akhbar al-Youm, strikes persisted from 2am until 5am, targeting areas “near the new hospital” and “the cemetery”, as well as “the Industrial Technical Institute”.
Local language social media sources indicated that the raids killed a donkey, but that there were no casualties or injuries. According to Al-Ain, casualties were avoided as residents dispersed “as soon as they heard the flight of the aircraft in the area”. Though most sources assigned responsibility to US forces, one local language source indicated that the airstrikes were “coalition”, likely referring to the Saudi-led Arab coalition fighting the Houthis.
This reported event allegedly took place amid a 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”.
The incident occured between 2:00 am and 5:00 am local time.
Sources (28) [ collapse]
from sources (3) [ collapse]
Reports of the incident mention the village of Ja’ar (جعار) located within As Sawma’ah district (مديرية الصومعة), for which the coordinates are: 14.25000, 45.83333. 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.