US drone strikes reportedly targeted alleged AQAP militants in the Al Muhajjab district of Al Wade’a in Abyan governorate, overnight from March 30th to March 31st. However several different villages were suggested as the location or locations of the action. There are no known associated reports of civilian harm.
Several sources, including Al Araby, reported that three strikes targeted vehicles in the area, with some suggesting that the strikes took place in Al Souda village. Both Reuters and Shabwa Press indicated that, according to local sources, an overnight strike targeted a car on a road in Al-Wadhi district. The number of casualties from strikes against vehicles were unknown.
Multiple sources, including Reuters, also reported that a strike in the Al Muhajjab area targeted a house where alleged AQAP militants were meeting, killing three including local leader Waddah Muhammad al-Souda.
According to Shabwa Press, al-Souda was instead killed in a house in the village of Al-Mozno, and an air strike targeted “the home of Muhammed al-Megrahi in the village of Al-Kudo“. It is possible that Al-Mozno and Al-Kudo are distinct, but the context of the Shabwa Press article indicates that al-Souda may have been killed in the home of al-Megrahi, and that one of the villages may lie next to another.
Several sources also indicated that the strikes in Al-Wadhi district damaged electrical infrastructure in the area.
This reported action took place amid a dramatic intensification of US operations against AQAP beginning in early March 2017. On April 3rd, Pentagon spokesperson Captain Jeff Davis said that, from February 28th to the final week of March, fifty US airstrikes were conducted in Yemen.
The incident occured during the night.
Sources (34) [ collapse]
Reports of the incident mention a vehicle being struck in the village of Al Souda (السودا), in the Al Mahajab (المحجب) area, Al Wade’a (الوضيع) district. Unable to find the village, we have narrowed the location down to a possible area surrounding Jabal Al Souda (جبل السودا) in the south-west of Al Wade’a district. Due to limited satellite imagery and information available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further. The generic coordinates for the Jabal Al Souda district are: 13.66107, 45.87551.
United States Armed 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.