One local-language social media source, @wael_shaifan, suggested late on August 27th 2019 that at least one US drone strike had targeted gatherings of alleged AQAP militants in Al Houta town, Shabwa governorate. Three other social media sources further indicated that US strikes had taken place in Shabwa that evening, but did not offer specific information. There were no known associated reports of civilian harm.
The first known report of US strikes came from Twitter user @2a__j2, who suggested at 8:30 PM local time that US raids were targeting Yemeni military forces in Shabwa and Abyan governorates. According to Twitter user @wael_shaifan, a US strike in Al-Houta resulted in militant “deaths and injuries”. Given this, Airwars has assessed that at least two militants were reportedly killed, and at least two more injured.
One Twitter source, @ali_alaslmy4700, suggested late on August 27th that nine US strikes had targeted “terrorist elements” on the Shakra coast, between Abyan and Shabwa. This event possibly accounts for at least one of these alleged strikes.
This claimed action came just prior to the beginning of a reported Emirati air campaign in southern Yemen on August 28th 2019, apparently in support of secessionist militias with the Southern . The strikes reportedly focused on Aden and the Abyan governorate. In a statement, the Emirati foreign ministry said that the strikes targeted “terrorist militias”, though others indicated that the strikes were targeting Yemeni military forces. 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 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. It is, however, possible that an undeclared strike was conducted by the CIA, or was part of a clandestine US military action.
The local time of the incident is unknown.
Sources (19) [ collapse]
from sources (3) [ collapse]
Reports of the incident mention the town of Al Houta (الحوطة), for which the generic coordinates are: 14.381351, 47.397712. Due to limited satellite imagery and information available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further.
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