On April 24th 2017, Pentagon spokesperson Captain Jeff Davis stated that a US strike six days earlier had killed three al-Qaida militants in Marib governorate. This confirmed earlier reports that a US drone strike had killed at least three alleged AQAP militants in Marib governorate, likely travelling on the road between Al-Shabwan and Husn Al-Jalal, overnight from April 18th to April 19th 2017. There were no known associated reports of civilian harm.
Though the US and some media reported that a single strike had taken place in Marib at that time, several sources reported two distinct strikes against alleged AQAP militants in Marib, killing seven militants in total. A third US strike also reportedly took place in Shabwa province around this time.
According to one Twitter source, @Demolinari, a drone strike killed three AQAP militants in a vehicle “between Al-Shabwan and Husn Al-Jalal”, while Najran Today noted that a strike had killed four in the Atran area.
Xinhua reported that a security official had detailed two distinct strikes, one against a car in Atran area, and another on a car “at a junction linking the areas of Al-Shabwan and Hoson Al-Jalal”.
Most sources mentioned a single US air strike, variously indicating that three or four AQAP militants had been killed, all in eastern Marib governorate. According to AFP, local authorities were unable to identify those killed, in a strike that reportedly killed four, due to extensive burns to their bodies. Sources also mentioned that one strike was located in Wadi Ubaidah, Atran area, between al-Hadshah farm and Jo Al-Naseem.
Given the proximity of the two alleged strikes, it is possible that reports refer to the same single event. As such, Airwars has assessed the minimum killed in this strike as three, with a maximum of four, to reflect the possibility that different death toll reports reflect estimates of the same strike fatalities. However, two event entries have been created, to reflect reports of distinct strikes.
Several sources named two of the dead as Salih al-Awlaki and Sa’id Baqadir. According to Alkhaleej Online, both were among four AQAP militants killed on the al-Hadshah farm, in Al-Hami town, Atran area. However, other sources reported that al-Awlaki and Baqadir were, instead, killed in another overnight strike in Shabwa governorate (USYEMTr078).
Some sources claimed that the strike, or one of the two strikes, in al-Shabwan instead killed “four officers from the so-called National Army associated with Hadi”.
On April 24th 2017, the Pentagon announced that the US had carried out over eighty strikes in Yemen since February 28th 2017.
The incident occured during the night.
Sources (57) [ collapse]
Geolocation notes (1) [ collapse]
Reports of the incident mention a vehicle being struck at the junction between Husun Al Jalal (حصون آل جلال) and Al Shabwan (ال شبوان), within the Wadi Obeida (وادي عبيدة) area, east of Ma’rib (مريب) city. Research in the area shows three distinct locations, Husun Al Jalal at: 15.533332945, 45.299999935; Husun Al Jalal Al Jadidah (حصون الجلال الجديدة) at: 15.47834, 45.3635; Husun Al Jalal Al Qadimah (حصون آل جلال القديمة) at: 15.47163, 45.37. In addition, we have identified an Al Shabwan village at: 15.545353936, 45.400366939; and the Al Shabwan district for which the generic coordinates are: 15.634177, 45.343297. Without specific information as to which of these locations the reports are referring to, we were unable to verify the location further. The generic coordinates for these locations are: 15.546247, 45.350407.
US Forces Assessment:
Original strike reports
Coalition and U.S. strikes continue to aid progress against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria in Iraq and Syria, and against al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula in Yemen, Pentagon spokesman Navy Capt. Jeff Davis said here today.
Today is day 65 of the operation to liberate western Mosul in Iraq, he said, and yesterday Iraqi forces gained another 6 square kilometers along the forward line of troops on the axis of attack moving from the south toward Mosul’s old city.
Members of the Iraqi Emergency Response Division and the Federal Police maintained defensive positions along their eastern boundary and the Tigress River. The Counterterrorism Service also gained new ground and the Iraqi army’s 9th Division continued to defend positions west of Mosul. Clearing operations continue in eastern Mosul, Davis reported.
Supporting Iraq Operations
“The total number of munitions delivered since Oct. 17 in support of operations to liberate Mosul is 22,107,” he added.
The munitions destroyed total 259 vehicle-borne bombs, 638 buildings and facilities, 209 tunnels, 684 vehicles, 914 bunkers, 38 anti-aircraft artillery systems, 542 artillery and mortar systems, and 279 boats and barges, Davis said.
On April 23, coalition military forces conducted seven strikes consisting of 49 engagements against ISIS targets.
Near Rawah, a strike engaged an ISIS tactical unit and destroyed an ISIS staging area, according to a statement by Operation Inherent Resolve officials.
Near Mosul, the officials said, six strikes engaged five ISIS tactical units; destroyed 11 fighting positions, eight heavy machine guns, four rocket-propelled grenade systems, two ISIS-held buildings, an ISIS-held bridge and a vehicle-borne bomb; damaged 14 ISIS supply routes and a fighting position; and suppressed four rocket teams, three mortar teams and an ISIS tactical unit.
Operations in Syria
In the fight for Raqqa in Syria, the Pentagon spokesman said, Syrian Democratic Forces have liberated another 2 square kilometers in the Raqqa valley north and Tabqah areas, and in the Raqqa valley north on the western axis.
“The SDF is reporting large numbers of internally displaced persons fleeing ISIS-held areas around there,” Davis added, noting that ISIS does not control the Tabqah dam or the city but the city is almost entirely surrounded.
In Syria yesterday, according to an OIR statement, coalition military forces conducted 24 strikes consisting of 48 engagements against ISIS targets.
Near Dayr Az Zawr, three strikes destroyed three ISIS wellheads. Near Palmyra, two strikes destroyed four fighting positions and two ISIS shipping containers.
Near Raqqa, seven strikes engaged three ISIS tactical units and destroyed three fighting positions, a heavy machine gun, a tactical vehicle and an ISIS wellhead. And near Tabqah, 12 strikes engaged 10 ISIS tactical units and destroyed 12 fighting positions, a tactical vehicle, an ISIS vehicle, a heavy machine gun and a command-and-control node.
U.S. forces conducted a strike April 18 in the Ma’rib governorate against three al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula terrorists, and another strike yesterday in the Shabwa governorate against eight al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula terrorists, Davis said.
“Since February 28, we've conducted more than 80 precision strikes against AQAP militants, infrastructure, fighting positions and equipment, and we'll continue to conduct operations including strikes against known terrorists,” he added.
Davis said U.S. forces are conducting a series of sustained operations in Yemen against al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula to degrade the group's ability to coordinate external terror attack operations and limit their ability to hold territory seized from the legitimate government of Yemen and use it as a safe haven for terror plotting.
Centcom is still assessing the results of the most recent strikes, he said.