Multiple sources reported that an alleged US drone strike targeted a vehicle travelling in the Wadea area of Abyan governorate on the afternoon of March 9th, killing at least one alleged AQAP militant. There are no known associated reports of civilian harm.
Most sources indicated that, according to local residents, the strike resulted in one alleged militant casualty, named in a report by Agence France Presse as Qassem Khalil, though one Twitter source did mention two alleged militant deaths.
According to Aden al-Ghad, the strike took place near the village of al-Mohajab. Sources variously described the targeted vehicle as a motorbike or a car, and several also reported that, in the aftermath of the strike, AQAP members were seen rushing to the site.
This reported event took place amid a dramatic intensification of US operations against AQAP beginning in March 2017. On April 3rd, Pentagon spokesperson Captain Jeff Davis said that, from February 28th to the final week of March, 50 US airstrikes had been conducted in Yemen.
The incident occured in the afternoon.
Sources (26) [ collapse]
Reports of the incident mention a vehicle being struck in Al Wade’a (الوضيع) district, allegedly in the Masaymeh (المصيمة) area to the south, in the vicinity of Al Mahjab (المحجب) village. Due to limited satellite imagery and information available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further. The generic coordinates for the Al Wade’a district are: 13.713333, 46.011944.
US Forces Assessment:
Original strike reports
The U.S. military conducted airstrikes over eastern Yemen during the weekend, targeting the sites of extremist group al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, director of Pentagon spokesman Navy Capt. Jeff Davis told reporters today.
“We continue to target [al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula] in Yemen, and this is done in the interest of disrupting a terror organization that presents a very significant threat to the United States,” Davis said.
Strikes Target Terrorists
During the weekend in Yemen’s Shabwah governorate, the precision airstrikes targeted al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula terrorists, as well as the terrorists’ infrastructure, fighting positions and equipment, the spokesman said.
The airstrikes follow the late-January U.S. raid in Yemen during which a U.S. service member died. From Feb. 28 through last week, some 50 airstrikes were conducted, Davis noted.
The weekend airstrikes, which were largely unmanned, bring the total to 70, he said.