Civilian Casualties

Civilian Casualties

Incident Code

USYEMTr107

Incident date

October 19, 2017

Location

بين شرجان و ذي حورة, Between Sharjan and Dhi Hawra, Bayda, Yemen

Geolocation

14.010619, 45.813428 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Neighbourhood/area level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Neighbourhood/area

Airwars assessment

On December 20th 2017, US Central Command stated that a strike had killed Obeidah Al-Lawdari, AQAP’s so-called Emir of Lawda”, and four “associates” in Bayda governorate on October 19th 2017.

This announcement confirmed several earlier reports that a US drone strike had killed at least three alleged AQAP militants travelling in a car on or near the border of Mukayras and Sama’a districts, in Bayda governorate, before sunset on October 19th.  There were no known associated reports of civilian harm.

Sources, including a pro-AQAP feed quoted by Dr Elisabeth Kendall (@Dr_E_Kendall), named the dead as AQAP leader Nayef Al-Damaji Abu Obeidah Al-Lawdari; Salah Hadi Al-Lawdari; Shuaib Al-Lawdari; Nader Al-Jaru; and Shamil Al-Jadani, also named by some as Shamil Al-Abyani.

Sources gave varying descriptions of the specific location of the strike. Most indicated that the attack took place in the Shurjan area – but disagreed on which side of the district border the strike fell. Some, including Al-Masdar Online, indicated the Shurjan area of Sama’a district, while @demolinari instead maintained that the strike took place in Shurjan, Mukayras, as the militants travelled between Shurjan and Dhi Hawra. Local sources told Marib Press that the strike took place in the Al-Khishna area of Sama’a.

Initial local language reports and Yemeni tribal leaders spoken with by Associated Press suggested that at least three alleged militants had died in the strike. Other local language reports, including Sky News Arabia, stated that four were killed immediately in the strike, with two sources – Telegraph Yemen and @barakish_net – suggesting that a total of six had died.

One source, @demolinari, tweeting a day after the strike, indicated that one person was not immediately killed but had died later, possibly accounting for the variance between several initial accounts and the CENTCOM tally.

According to Xinhua, a Yemeni security source indicated that the strike targeted militants as they moved “into their hideouts”, while @demolinari, indicated that those killed were “fleeing from advancing Security Belt forces”.

All of those named were reportedly from Abyan governorate. According to @demolinari, Nader Al-Jaru was from Mudiyah, and Shamil Al-Jadani was from Wadea, while the names of the three others indicated that they were from Lawdar.

In a statement, US Central Command said that Obeidah Al-Lawdari “had been known to provide equipment and money in support of AQAP attacks against [Saudi-led] Coalition forces, posing an increased threat to U.S. interests”.

A US spokesperson told the Bureau of Investigative Journalism that this strike on October 19 brought the number of American strikes against AQAP in Yemen to over 110 during 2017. This total did not include the two strikes against Islamic State training camps, which marked the first time US forces had hit the group in Yemen.

The incident occured around dusk.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    None known
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Known attacker
    United States Armed Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP)
  • Belligerents reported killed
    5–6

Sources (33) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (11) [ collapse]

  • US Central Command confirmed that a strike killed five alleged AQAP militants in Mukayras, Bayda, on October 19th 2017 (@demolinari, October 20th 2017)
  • According to one source, pro-AQAP channels named one of the dead as Shamil Al-Jadani (@demolinari, October 20th 2017).
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    One source suggested that four were killed immediately when their vehicle was fired on, while a fifth died after from his wounds (@demolinari, October 20th 2017).
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    One source suggested that four were killed immediately when their vehicle was fired on, while a fifth died after from his wounds (@demolinari, October 20th 2017).
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    One source suggested that four were killed immediately when their vehicle was fired on, while a fifth died after from his wounds (@demolinari, October 20th 2017).
  • Nader Al-Jaru, from Mudiyah, was reportedly amongst those killed in the October 19th strike (@demolinari, December 7th 2017)
  • Nader Al-Jaru, from Mudiyah, was reportedly amongst those killed in the October 19th strike (@demolinari, December 7th 2017)

Geolocation notes (1) [ collapse]

Reports of the incident mention a vehicle being struck while travelling between the villages of Sharjan (شرجان) and Dhi Hawra (ذي حورة), in the Mukayras (مكيراس) district. Due to limited satellite imagery and information available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further. The generic coordinates for the middle point between these two villages are: 14.010619, 45.813428

  • Reports of the incident mention a vehicle being struck while travelling between the villages of Sharjan (شرجان) and Dhi Hawra (ذي حورة).

    Imagery:
    Google Earth

United States Armed Forces Assessment:

  • Known belligerent
    United States Armed Forces
  • United States Armed Forces position on incident
    Not yet assessed

Original strike reports

United States Armed Forces

TAMPA, Fla. - U.S. forces have conducted multiple ground operations and more than 120 strikes in 2017 to remove key leaders and disrupt the ability of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and ISIS-Yemen to use ungoverned spaces in Yemen as a hub for terrorist recruiting, training, and base of operations to export terror worldwide.

AQAP is one of the terrorist groups most committed to and capable of conducting attacks in America, as assessed by the intelligence and defense communities, while intelligence estimates indicate that ISIS-Y has doubled in size over the past year.

In November, the U.S. conducted 10 strikes across Yemen governorates al-Bayda, and Marib including a strike on Mujahid al-Adani, AQAP Shabwah leader, who was killed Nov. 20 in al-Bayda Governorate, Yemen. Al-Adani, also known as Mohammad Shukri, was a senior leader responsible for planning and conducting terrorist attacks against Yemeni, Coalition and tribal security forces. He exerted significant influence within AQAP's terrorist attack networks, similarly, maintained close ties and access to the group's other senior leaders, and previously served as an AQAP military leader in Aden.

Al-Bayda AQAP facilitator Abu Layth al-Sanaani and three AQAP associates were also killed in the Nov. 20 strike.

Ruwahah al-Sanaani, also an AQAP facilitator, was killed Nov. 2 in Marib Governorate.

In October, a strike Oct. 19 killed Ubaydah al-Lawdari, the Emir of Lawdar, and four associates in al-Bayda Governorate. Al-Lawdari had been known to provide equipment and money in support of AQAP attacks against Coalition forces, posing an increased threat to U.S. interests.

Meanwhile, a series of strikes against two ISIS terror training camps in al-Bayda Oct. 16 killed more than 50 ISIS-Y combatants, disrupting the organization's attempts to recruit and train new fighters.

"The removal of key facilitators in this region will interrupt AQAP's freedom of movement and likely force the group into a reactionary posture, limiting their ability to challenge Yemeni Security Forces and partnered advances," said Lt. Col. Earl Brown, a CENTCOM spokesman.
"U.S. forces also expanded counterterrorism operations in October to encompass both AQAP and ISIS. This parallel targeting effort is required to prevent ISIS-Y from filling the vacuum left by a diminished AQAP footprint or influence in the region," he said.

Ongoing operations pressuring the network have also degraded AQAP's propaganda production, reducing one of the methods for the terror group to recruit and inspire lone wolf attacks across the globe. The al-Masra Newsletter, previously published three times a month, has not been published since July.

Al-Malahim Establishment for Media Production, which produces AQAP's terrorist-inspiring video series, as well as Inspire Magazine, saw a large drop in October. Unable to produce video series and graphic terror-inspiring magazines, AQAP has resorted to using low-tech audio messages.

"U.S. forces have enabled regional counterterrorism partners to regain territory from these terrorists - forcing them to spend more time on survival," said Brown. "These operations have helped to illuminate terrorist networks, making intelligence-gathering, subsequent targeting and follow-on operations increasingly productive and effective.

"Every strike, every raid and every partnered operation advance the defeat of these violent extremist organizations. U.S. forces will continue to use all effective measures to degrade the groups' ability to export terror."

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    None known
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Known attacker
    United States Armed Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP)
  • Belligerents reported killed
    5–6

Sources (33) [ collapse]