Civilian Casualties

Civilian Casualties

Incident Code

USYEMTr041

Incident date

March 6, 2017

Location

قيفه, Qifah, Al Bayda', Yemen

Geolocation

14.449335, 44.817596 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Neighbourhood/area level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Neighbourhood/area

Airwars assessment

A single source, Al-Masdar Online, alleged that a US airstrike killed Yasser Ali Abdullah al-Silmi, also known as Abu al Muhajir al Ebbi, in Qayfa, Bayda governorate, at dawn on March 6th 2017. A US Pentagon spokesperson, however, announced on March 6th that a US airstrike killed AQAP members Usayd al-Adani and Yasir al-Silmi in Abyan governorate on March 2nd 2017, a declaration accounted for in USYEMTr014. There were no known reports of civilian harm.

According to the Pentagon, al-Adani was “a longtime al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula explosives expert and facilitator who served as the organization’s emir”, while al-Silmi was a “former Naval Air Station Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, detainee”. Multiple sources reported that al-Silmi, also known as Mohammed Tamar, was held at Guantanamo Bay from 2002 to 2009, when he was repatriated to Yemen. Almasdar Online reported that al-Silmi, “nicknamed as Abu al Muhajir al Ebbi”, was originally from Hazm al Udain in Ibb governorate, and was an AQAP leader in charge of education while the group controlled Mukalla city, Hadramout governorate.

A local source told Al-Masdar Online that a strike took place in the Qaifa region of Bayda governorate, at dawn on March 6th, which had killed al Ebbi. It is possible that a second strike was conducted against al Ebbi if he survived the first, or that the Al-Masdar report constitutes confused reporting of the US declaration.

This reported event took place amid a dramatic intensification of US operations against AQAP in March 2017. On March 6th, Pentagon spokesman Captain Jeff Davis announced that forty strikes had been conducted in Yemen over the previous five nights. Earlier, AFP reported that AQAP militants had begun to withdraw from several areas in response to US attacks.

The incident occured around dawn.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Single source claim
  • 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

Sources (19) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (3) [ collapse]

  • Yasser al-Silmi, previously a Guantanamo Bay detainee from 2002 to 2009, was killed by a US airstrike in Yemen (Almasdar Online, March 8th 2017)
  • Yasser al-Silmi, previously a Guantanamo Bay detainee from 2002 to 2009, was killed by a US airstrike in Yemen (@AsodGuantanamo, March 7th 2017)
  • On March 8th, Hour News posted an alleged video of the strike that killed al-Silmi (Sanaa News, March 9th 2017)

Geolocation notes (1) [ collapse]

Reports of the incident mention a vehicle being struck in the Qifah (قيفه) area, north of the city of Rada’a (رداع) within the Al Bayda’ governorate (مُحَافَظَة ٱلْبَيْضَاء‎), for which the generic coordinates are: 14.449335, 44.817596. Due to limited satellite imagery and information available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further.

  • Conflicting reports of the incident mention a vehicle being struck at two distinct locations. Some mention the Qifah (قيفه) area, north of the city of Rada’a (رداع) within the Al Bayda’ governorate (مُحَافَظَة ٱلْبَيْضَاء‎)

    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

WASHINGTON, March 6, 2017 — 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.
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
    Single source claim
  • 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

Sources (19) [ collapse]