A number of US drone strikes reportedly targeted pro-government fighters in Hazmiya district in Bayda governorate, on March 25th 2019, killing at least five and injuring eight others. A few sources instead indicated that a UAE drone had conducted the strikes, and one suggested that a Houthi ballistic missile was responsible for reported casualties. Though some claimed that a strike had targeted “citizens” at a funeral, there were no known specific reports of civilian harm.
Local language news and social media sources, including Yemen Shabab and Mareb Press, indicated that a drone (which most alleged to be American) conducted several strikes against positions of the Hazmiyah Front, one of which destroyed a weapons store. Al Masirah reported that strikes took place at dawn and noon.
Those killed in the strikes were named by Aden Gad and others as Shamakh Mohammed Salem Al-Farawi, Ahmed Mansour Al-Shanhouz, Nasser Saleh Al-Farawi, Abdul-Ghani Al-Farawi, and Dabaj Al-Salmani. One source, Alwfaq News, suggested that, according to a local source, a strike took place at 2 PM, killing seven, but did not provide names.
According to these sources, the same or a separate drone reportedly then conducted a strike during the funeral of the victims of the initial raids. Some media sources, including Mareb Press and Aden Gad, described this strike as targeting mourning “citizens”, potentially indicating that they were civilians, though no sources reported that the strike resulted in casualties. According to Alwfaq News, a second strike on the same camp, which had been evacuated, resulted in no casualties. The strikes allegedly came days after pro-government forces in Hazmiyah had repulsed an attack from Houthi militias.
A Reuters correspondent, @MohammedGhobari, tweeted that a US drone strike had targeted a weapons store, but that the five reported fatalities instead resulted from a Houthi rocket strike nearby. Yemeni journalist @m_alsallaly, tweeted that Emirati drones had conducted all of the alleged strikes, and suggested that 90% of those targeted had previously rejected Emirati offers to establish friendly militias.
A US Central Command spokesperson later told New America that two strikes in Bayda governorate were carried out on March 25th. In a press release, CENTCOM further suggested that all strikes in March 2019 targeted AQAP militants. AQAP fighters have been previously reported to have fought beside, and integrated into, pro-government forces.
Though there were no other known reported US strikes on March 25th, given the conflicted reports of responsibility for some or all of the strikes and casualties, this event has been assessed as contested. While it is possible that one or both of the declared US strikes referred to one or more of the mentioned actions within this event; two unique incident logs have been created (USYEMTr191, USYEMTr192) to reflect those declared US strikes.
The local time of the incident is unknown.
Sources (30) [ collapse]
Geolocation notes (1) [ collapse]
Reports of the incident mention a strike on the Salafiya Al Hazmiya Camp (معسكر الحازمية السلفي), allegedly located within the As Suma’a (الصومعة) district, of Al Bayda (البيضاء) governorate. Due to limited satellite imagery and information available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further. The generic coordinates for As Suma’a are: 14.166667, 45.831111.
US Forces Assessment:
Original strike reports
Our Yemen strikes data has been updated for individualized dates after CENTCOM responded to an inquiry on the eight strikes in 2019. Strikes were as follows: 1/1, 1/21, 3/25, 3/25, 3/26, 3/28, 3/29, and 3/29. All but 1/1 in al Bayda'