One local-language social media source, @tlaal661, reported on August 24th 2019 that two US airstrikes had targeted alleged AQAP militants in the Aqaba Al Qandha area “between Al-Bayda and Shabwa” governorates. There were no known further public reports of a strike, and no information about alleged casualties was available.
The report came a few days prior to the beginning of a reported Emirati air campaign in southern Yemen on August 28th 2019, apparently in support of secessionist forces with the Southern Transitional Council (STC).
In a statement, the Emirati foreign ministry indicated that the later strikes had targeted “terrorist militias”, though others indicated that the attacks were targeting Yemeni military forces supporting the Saudi-led Coalition. AQAP militants have been previously reported to have fought alongside, and sometimes integrated into, Yemeni government forces. As such, it is possible that this event reflects an early Emirati strike.
On October 4th 2019, a US Central Command spokesperson told New America that no US military strikes had been conducted in Yemen since June 24th 2019. This does not however preclude this having been a possible CIA action, or a clandestine US military action.
The local time of the incident is unknown.
Sources (21) [ collapse]
from sources (1) [ collapse]
Reports of the incident mention the Aqaba Al Qandha (عقبة القنذع) area on the border of Shabwa (شبوة) and Al Bayda (البيضاء) governorates. Due to limited satellite imagery and information available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further. The generic coordinates for Aqaba Al Qandha are: 14.680437, 45.594356.
US Forces Assessment:
Original strike reports
On October 4, 2019, United States Central Command (CENTCOM) replied to an email inquiry from New America confirming that “the last strike conducted by CENTCOM in Yemen was 24 June.” Per that statement, there were no CENTCOM strikes in Yemen in September 2019.
The lack of strikes in September makes it more than three months since the last U.S. military counterterrorism strike in Yemen, according to New America’s research. However, it is possible that the United States has conducted covert non-military strikes, and in recent years there have been a small number of strikes attributed by media reports to the United States that CENTCOM has denied conducting