At least a dozen US air and naval strikes reportedly targeted alleged AQAP militants in an area of salt marshes south of Ahwar city, in the Ahwar directorate of Abyan governorate, overnight from March 30th to March 31st 2017. There are no known associated reports of civilian harm.
Several sources indicated that overnight naval and drone strikes targeted militants as they fled from earlier reported strikes against AQAP sites in or around Mogan, al-Maraqisha, on the Abyan coast. Al Itihad for example noted that “other raids targeted groups of terrorist elements in the Sabkha area while they were fleeing from the bombing that targeted their training camps in the areas of Mogan and Khobar Al-Marashshah In the district of Ahwar.”
There were no clear allegations of casualties from the reported strikes, though the now-deleted account @CombatTerrorism reportedly indicated that the militants “all died”, according to sources including Yafa News and Sahafanet. Airwars has, therefore, assessed that a minimum of two militants were allegedly killed in the strike.
This reported event took place amid a dramatic intensification of US operations against AQAP in 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 (11) [ collapse]
from sources (3) [ collapse]
Reports of the incident mention a vehicle being struck in the vicinity of the coastal salt marshes (سبخة), located within the Qaroub (علبوب) area, south of Ahwar (أحور) city. Due to limited satellite imagery and information available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further. The generic coordinates for Ahwar are: 13.519256, 46.712837.
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.