At least five alleged AQAP militants, including at least one leadership figure, were reportedly killed by a US drone strike in Dhi Kalb, in the Quraishiah area of Bayda governorate, overnight from November 24th-25th 2018. There were no known associated reports of civilian harm.
Most sources reported that six militants had been killed, though differed over the precise circumstances. A local source told Al-Masdar Online that the strike targeted an “al-Qaeda” site in the area, killing six including two leaders, named as Abu Muhammad Al-Dhahab, and Abu Al-Qa’qa. Other sources, including Al-Khabar Now, Associated Press, Reuters, and Xinhua, also indicated that six had been killed including two leadership figures, in a strike against an AQAP “hideout”, “gathering” or “site”.
Others, including Al-Arabi and The National, instead reported that, according to local and provincial sources, those targeted were killed while travelling through the area in a car.
Though most gave an overall figure of six fatalities, a local official reportedly told AFP that five, including one commander, were killed, according to The National. The original AFP article could not be found by Airwars. An anonymous provincial source also told the National that six militants and two commanders had died.
Dr Elisabeth Kendall, an academic, indicated that pro-AQAP feeds only named two “brothers” as martyred: Abu Mohammed Al-Dhahab, and Mus’ab Al-Ibbi, and suggested that this could mean that the remainder were tribal fighters not directly affiliated with AQAP.
Most indicated that the strike took place on November 25th, with the first public claims appearing early afternoon on that date. Al-Masdar Online instead indicated a time late on November 24th: “According to a local source who reported to Al-Masdar Online, an air strike launched by an American plane yesterday evening, Saturday, targeted an Al-Qaeda site in the Dhilb area in Quraishiya, killing the two leaders, Abu Muhammad al-Dahab, Abu al-Qa`qa, and four of their companions.”
As such, Airwars has assessed that the strike took place at some time overnight. Local residents told Xinhua that a drone was loitering over the area for some hours prior to the strike.
In January 2019, US Central Command asserted that it conducted no actions in November 2018: “No strikes were conducted in Yemen in October, November, and December.” This may not however preclude a CIA or Saudi-led Coalition action.
The incident occured during the night.
Sources (35) [ collapse]
from sources (2) [ collapse]
Reports of the incident mention the village of Dhi Kalib (ذي كالب ) for which the generic coordinates are: 14.555183, 44.882332. Due to limited satellite imagery and information available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further
US Forces Assessment:
Original strike reports
CENTCOM counterterrorism strikes in Yemen 2018 rollup
TAMPA, Fla. - U.S. Central Command conducted 36 total air strikes in Yemen
in 2018, targeting al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and ISIS-Yemen.
CENTCOM conducted 10 air strikes in January targeting both AQAP and
ISIS-Yemen, six air strikes against AQAP in February, seven air strikes
against AQAP in March and four airstrikes against AQAP in April.
CENTCOM conducted two air strikes in May, two air strikes in June, two air
strikes in July, one air strike in August, and two air strikes in September,
all targeting AQAP terrorists.
No strikes were conducted in Yemen in October, November, and December.
The air strikes took place in Abyan, al Bayda, Hadramawt, Shabwah and Zamakh