Civilian Casualties

Civilian Casualties

Incident Code

USYEMTr033

Incident date

March 4, 2017

Location

الصعيد, Said, Shabwa, Yemen

Geolocation

14.299611, 46.859139 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Subdistrict level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Subdistrict

Airwars assessment

Multiple sources reported that, at dawn on March 4th 2017, one or more US strikes targeted alleged AQAP militants in the Said district, Shabwa governorate.  Some reports indicated that the strikes killed or wounded AQAP members.

According to several social media sources, a US drone strike targeted a car carrying suspected AQAP militants in the Said district early on Saturday March 4th.  Akhbar al-Youm further reported that, according to local sources, the car was transporting wounded AQAP members out of the area, leading Airwars to assess that a minimum of two reported person hors de combat were killed.

Yemenat reported, on March 5th, that American drones had bombed the Said area “heavily” at dawn on March 4th.  In addition, according to tribal sources and residents spoken with by Reuters, another US drone strike took place in the Said area, targeting “a crowd of suspected al Qaeda militants” on March 4th, though this strike did not result in any reported casualties.

Sources also reported that Abdullah al-Fadhli, the son of Abyan Sheikh Tariq al-Fadhli, was killed by a US drone strike in Shabwa province at dawn on March 4th.  Some sources further indicated that Abdullah was killed alongside an unknown number of “companions”. One source, @m_audin, indicated that Abdullah was killed by a drone strike in the Yashbum area of Said district. Given this, and given that no other known strikes were reported in Shabwa at dawn on March 4th, it appears likely that al-Fadhli was killed in US strikes in Said.

Several sources reported that Abdullah’s brother, Muhammed al-Fadhli, announced, via Facebook, Abdullah’s death at dawn in Shabwa.  As such, Airwars’ assessment counts at least one reported belligerent casualty, with a maximum of three, inclusive of at least two “companions”.

Some social media sources explicitly identified Abdullah as an AQAP member, and several sources alleged that his father Tariq al-Fadhli was an AQAP leader or militant, though other sources variously described him as a “mercenary”, a “tribal sheikh”, and a “former leader” in AQAP.  According to Shafi Jarrouh News, Abdullah was released from prison in Sana’a in April 2016, after spending two years held on charges of terrorism.

This reported strike took place amid a dramatic intensification of US operations against AQAP in March 2017.  A US military intelligence source told NBC News that the strikes beginning March 2nd were “part of ‘new directives’ to aggressively pursue the Dhahab and Qayfa clans”.

The incident occured around dawn.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Likely strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    None known
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Suspected attacker
    United States Armed Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP)
  • Belligerents reported killed
    1–3

Sources (36) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (10) [ collapse]

  • Sources suggested that Abdullah al-Fadhli, the son of Sheikh Tareq al-Fadhli (pictured), was killed by an alleged US drone strike in Shabwa on March 4th (Yemenat, March 5th 2017)
  • Sources suggested that Abdullah al-Fadhli, the son of Sheikh Tareq al-Fadhli (pictured), was killed by an alleged US drone strike in Shabwa on March 4th (Alkhabar, March 5th 2017)
  • Sources suggested that Abdullah al-Fadhli, the son of Sheikh Tareq al-Fadhli (pictured), was killed by an alleged US drone strike in Shabwa on March 4th (@demolinari, March 5th 2017)
  • Sources suggested that Abdullah al-Fadhli (pictured), the son of Sheikh Tareq al-Fadhli, was killed by an alleged US drone strike in Shabwa on March 4th (@demolinari, March 6th 2017)
  • Sources suggested that Abdullah al-Fadhli (pictured), the son of Sheikh Tareq al-Fadhli, was killed by an alleged US drone strike in Shabwa on March 4th (@demolinari, December 31st 2017)
  • Sources suggested that Abdullah al-Fadhli, the son of Sheikh Tareq al-Fadhli (pictured), was killed by an alleged US drone strike in Shabwa on March 4th (@m_audin, March 5th 2017)

Geolocation notes (1) [ collapse]

Reports of the incident mention the district of Said (الصعيد), for which the coordinates are: 14.299611, 46.859139. Due to limited satellite imagery and information available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further.

  • Reports of the incident mention the district of Said (الصعيد).

    Imagery:
    Google Earth

United States Armed Forces Assessment:

  • Suspected belligerent
    United States Armed Forces
  • United States Armed Forces position on incident
    Not yet assessed

Original strike reports

United States Armed Forces

Defense Department officials detected and tracked multiple missile launches out of North Korea today, four of which landed in the Sea of Japan, Pentagon spokesman Navy Capt. Jeff Davis told reporters this morning.

Explosive ordnance disposal technicians assigned to Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit 5, Platoon 501, prepare for an EOD mine-countermeasure exercise with members of a South Korean navy underwater dive team off the coast of Jinhae, South Korea, as part of exercise Foal Eagle 2017, March 3, 2017. Foal Eagle is an annual, bilateral training exercise designed to enhance the readiness of U.S. and South Korean forces and their ability to work together during a crisis. Navy Combat Camera photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Alfred A. Coffield
Explosive ordnance disposal technicians assigned to Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit 5, Platoon 501, prepare for an EOD mine-countermeasure exercise with members of a South Korean navy underwater dive team off the coast of Jinhae, South Korea, as part of exercise Foal Eagle 2017, March 3, 2017. Foal Eagle is an annual, bilateral training exercise designed to enhance the readiness of U.S. and South Korean forces and their ability to work together during a crisis. Navy Combat Camera photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Alfred A. Coffield
Davis said the four medium-range ballistic missiles were launched from the northwest corner of North Korea, traveled over the Korean Peninsula and out into the sea, totaling about 1,000 kilometers in distance, or more than 620 miles.

Missiles Land Off Japan’s Coast

The missiles landed in the vicinity of Akita Prefecture off the coast of Japan near that nation’s exclusive economic zone, he said. The EEZ is defined as a sea zone prescribed by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea over which a state has special rights regarding the exploration and use of marine resources, including energy production from water and wind.

“The North American Aerospace Defense Command detected that the missiles from North Korea did not pose a threat to North America,” Davis said. “This [North Korean missile launch] is very similar in terms of the path and the distance of the three missiles that flew into Japan’s EEZ in September 2016.”

He added, “These launches, which coincide with the start of our annual defensive exercise, Foal Eagle, with the Republic of Korea’s military, are consistent with North Korea’s long history of provocative behavior, often timed to military exercises that we do with our ally,”

The United States stands with its allies “in the face of this very serious threat and are taking steps to enhance our ability to defend against North Korea’s ballistic missiles, such as the deployment of a [Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense] battery to South Korea, which will happen as soon as feasible,” Davis said.

U.S. Strikes AQAP in Yemen

Also overnight, the United States made an airstrike on Yemen’s Abyan Governorate against al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula fighters, bringing to 40 the strikes there in the past five nights, Davis said.

Since the first airstrike against al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula in Yemen on Feb. 28, “We will continue to target [al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula] militants and facilities to disrupt the organization’s plot and protect American lives,” the captain said.

The strikes have been coordinated with and done in full partnership with the government of Yemen with the goal of denying al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula terrorists’ freedom of movement within traditional safe havens, Davis emphasized.

The captain also confirmed the deaths of three al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula operatives in March 2 and 3 airstrikes in Yemen.

Usayd al Adani, whom Davis described as a longtime al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula explosives expert and facilitator who served as the organization’s emir, was killed in a U.S. airstrike March 2 within the Abyan Governorate. Killed with him was former Naval Air Station Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, detainee Yasir al Silmi.

Killed March 3 was al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula fighter and communications intermediary for Adani, Harithah al Waqri, Davis said.

“[Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula] has taken advantage of ungoverned spaces in Yemen to plot, direct and inspire terror attacks against the United States and our allies,” he said. “And we will continue to work with the government of Yemen to defeat [al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula].

Summary

  • Strike status
    Likely strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    None known
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Suspected attacker
    United States Armed Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP)
  • Belligerents reported killed
    1–3

Sources (36) [ collapse]