In an email to the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, US Central Command stated that a strike took place against an AQAP “target” on July 1st 2017 in Abyan governorate. This confirmed earlier reports that at least one US drone strike targeted at least two alleged AQAP militants in the Wadea district of Abyan governorate, on the night of July 1st 2017. There were no known associated reports of civilian harm.
Several sources including Adengad reported that a US drone strike against a motorcycle in the area killed AQAP leader Ibrahim Al-Adani, also named as Adel Al-Zamki Al-Hasani, and “his companions”. Others suggested that this strike was one of several in Wadea, also targeting an AQAP training camp in the area. Some suggested that strikes instead targeted near Bir Al-Shahata village.
It was unclear whether reported strikes against a vehicle and an AQAP camp were geographically distinct events. Several sources suggested that the camp was situated in the Wadi al-Malh area, which two sources also suggested was the area in which the motorcycle was targeted. One local language Twitter source, local journalist Mareb Alward, suggested that two AQAP militants, including Al-Adani, were killed in a strike against a camp.
According to BBC monitoring of local media however, Al-Masdar reported that the strikes against the camp and the motorcycle occurred in separate areas of Wadea district.
In an email to the Bureau, US Central Command stated that “a precision strike” was conducted against an AQAP target, possibly indicating just one action.
Sources differed on the total number of militant deaths. According to some local language sources, including Aden al-Ghad, local residents reported that two men were killed while riding a motorcycle. AFP and Reuters also reported that, according to a security official, two alleged AQAP militants were killed on a motorbike, one of whom was Ibrahim Al-Adani.
Xinhua, however, reported that three, including Al-Adani, were killed in a remote US strike against a vehicle. Images published online appeared to show Al-Adani’s body.
One local language Twitter source instead suggested there were “no victims” in strikes against Wadea district and Al-Shatah village, though it was unclear if this included the reported strike against a motorcycle or referred only to strikes on the camp. As such, Airwars has assessed that between two and three alleged militants were reported killed in this event.
The incident occured during the night.
Sources (27) [ collapse]
Geolocation notes (1) [ collapse]
Reports of the incident mention a vehicle being struck in one of two possible locations called Wadi Al Malh (وادي الملح) and Bir Al Shahata (بيرالشطحة) within the Al Wade’a (الوضيع) district. Due to limited satellite imagery and information available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further. The generic coordinates for Al Wade’a district are: 13.713333, 46.011944.
US Forces Assessment:
Original strike reports
U.S. forces conducted a precision strike against an al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula target July 1 in Abyan Governorate, Yemen.
In coordination with the government of Yemen, U.S. forces are conducting a series of sustained counterterrorism operations in Yemen against AQAP to degrade the group's ability to hold territory and coordinate external terror attacks.