According to several sources, a US drone strike targeted alleged AQAP militants in or near Azzan, in Shabwa governorate, overnight from July 9th-10th 2017. There were no known associated reports of civilian harm.
Multiple sources reported that an unnamed AQAP leader was killed in the strike, which some suggested targeted a car, killing all inside. Aden al-Ghad reported that “charred bodies were taken from the car” by AQAP elements, including a “prominent leader of al-Qaeda”, indicating that at least two were killed in the event.
Al-Arabi reported on July 11th that, according to some sources, Qasim al-Rimi, leader of AQAP in Yemen, was killed in the strike. However, later reports of al-Rimi’s activities demonstrated that this was not the case; al-Rimi was also reportedly killed in a later confirmed US strike in January 2020.
A Sky News Arabia correspondent reported that an explosion was heard in the Al-Houta area of Azzan at the time, as well as overflights by unidentified aircraft.
According to Xinhua, “a gathering of al-Qaida gunmen” was targeted by a US drone in Azzan town. It was unclear whether this alleged strike was distinct from the reported strike against a vehicle.
In an email to the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, US Central Command denied conducting any strikes in Shabwa during the relevant time period. This denial does not preclude one or more CIA actions in Shabwa on this date, however.
The incident occured during the night.
Sources (19) [ collapse]
from sources (2) [ collapse]
Reports of the incident mention a vehicle being struck in the vicinity of Azzan (عزان) town. Due to limited satellite imagery and information available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further. The generic coordinates for Azzan are: 14.3267791, 47.4475743.