Several sources reported that a US drone strike in Al Wade’a district, Abyan governorate, targeted the home of alleged AQAP leader Abu Ubaidah al-Damaji at around dawn on March 31st 2017. There were no known reports of civilian harm.
Sources indicated that it was unclear whether al-Damaji or any others died in the strike on his house, and other reports suggested that he died in another reported US strike, on the same night, against a vehicle in Bayda governorate.
It is possible that this strike was one of several that targeted the Al-Muhajjab area of Al Wade’a from March 30th to March 31st (see for example USYEMTr056).
According to @demolinari, residents reported that several of overnight strikes in Al Wade’a did not kill any AQAP militants, but did damage electrical lines. Local sources told Aden al-Ghad that the last strike against al-Damaji resulted in an electrical blackout in Al Wade’a and the surrounding area.
This reported event 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 around dawn.
Sources (10) [ collapse]
Geolocation notes (1) [ collapse]
Reports of the incident mention a strike on a village within the Al Wade’a (الوضيع) district, for which generic coordinates are: 13.713333, 46.011944. 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
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.