At least three alleged AQAP militants were reportedly killed, and another injured, by a US drone strike against a house in Al Rawda, Marib governorate, on the evening of July 22nd 2018. A few social media sources at the time suggested that the strike had instead killed civilians.
A later US Central Command statement indicated that a strike had taken place on July 22nd, but CENTCOM later told the Bureau of Investigative Journalism that this declared strike was in Hadramout governorate rather than Marib, with the Bureau noting that “US Central Command said it conducted strikes on July 22 and 24, both in Hadramout governorate, in response to a Bureau query on the monthly strike total.”
Two local language Twitter sources, @ALARSH_NEWS and @HHHE201001, reported that a US drone had targeted Internally Displaced Persons in Rawdat Thanah, killing three and resulting in “a number” of wounded. Another Twitter account, @Abbas_477, stated only that a US drone was “bombing citizens in Marib”.
Most, however, indicated that AQAP militants were killed in the alleged strike. Anatolia Agency reported that three militants were killed and one injured, when a US drone targeted a meeting taking place in a house, according to a security officer.
Others, including AP, AFP, and local language social-media sources, indicated that a strike had killed four militants. Tribal leaders told AP that four bodies, allegedly AQAP militants, were found after the attack. One source, @ShabbirTuri, suggested that ten had died, though this figure is potentially a misinterpretation of a confusing AFP headline.
In its annual civilian casualty report to Congress issued in April 2019, the US Department of Defense stated that it had assessed “no credible reports of civilian casualties resulting from US military actions in Yemen during 2018″.
Responding to Airwars’ publication of its Yemen dataset and accompanying report in October 2020, CENTCOM dismissed all but two civilian harm claims under President Trump, asserting that “USCENTCOM conducted a thorough review of the information AirWars provided regarding allegations of potential civilian harm caused by USCENTCOM strikes in Yemen from 2017-2020… The bulk of the information asserted by AirWars, however, did not correspond with dates and locations of U.S. military strikes or raids in Yemen. Other AirWars allegations either did not allege civilian harm or were not assessed as credible upon our review.”
The incident occured in the evening.
Sources (29) [ collapse]
from sources (2) [ collapse]
Geolocation notes (1) [ collapse]
Reports of the incident mention a house being struck in the Al Rawda (الروضة) area, south of Mar’ib (مأرب) city. Due to limited satellite imagery and information available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further. The generic coordinates for Al Rawda are: 15.448882, 45.345554.
United States Armed Forces Assessment:
Civilian casualty statements
C. U.S. military action in Yemen against al-Qa’ida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and ISIS During 2018, U.S. forces deployed to Yemen continued to work towards disrupting and degrading the terrorist threat posed by AQAP and ISIS. U.S. forces conducted 36 airstrikes against AQAP and ISIS operatives and facilities in Yemen and supported United Arab Emirates and Yemen-led efforts to clear AQAP from Shabwah Governorate. DoD has no credible reports of civilian casualties resulting from U.S. military actions in Yemen during 2018.
Via email to Airwars: U.S. Central Command (USCENTCOM) continues to focus on ways to minimize civilian casualties during its military operations. We assess or review all reports of civilian casualties because such assessments or reviews help us identify ways to improve our operations and counter misinformation and propaganda. We routinely share the results of every one of our assessments in Department of Defense (DoD) reports to Congress, including annual reports, many of which are publicly available. We also share the results of our assessments or reviews with the public via the USCENTCOM website and our statements to the media. Individuals wishing to understand U.S. military operations in Yemen more fully should consult these official sources of information. USCENTCOM conducted a thorough review of the information AirWars provided regarding allegations of potential civilian harm caused by USCENTCOM strikes in Yemen from 2017-2020. Of the information AirWars provided, one strike on September 14, 2017, was assessed to have caused injuries to two civilians. Also, as previously released by USCENTCOM to the public in February 2017, USCENTCOM acknowledged there may have been civilian casualties during a raid on January 29, 2017. The bulk of the information asserted by AirWars, however, did not correspond with dates and locations of U.S. military strikes or raids in Yemen. Other AirWars allegations either did not allege civilian harm or were not assessed as credible upon our review. Consistent with our mission, our authorities, and our obligations under the law of war, USCENTCOM will continue to conduct military actions in Yemen when required to protect the Nation and our allies and partners from al Qa’ida and ISIS terror cells that are committed to inflicting terror. In every strike and raid, we take careful measures to minimize civilian harm and take responsibility for our actions. When our military operations result in reports of civilian harm, we will continue to assess the credibility of such reports to help us identify ways to improve our operations and respond as appropriate.