At least five US drone strikes reportedly targeted alleged “terrorist” militants, variously alleged to be AQAP or ISIS-affiliated, in the Marib governorate Third Regional Military Command area of the pro-government military, just after midnight on August 31st 2019, according to multiple social media sources. One source, however, instead alleged that Emirati artillery shelling had targeted the area, killing a military commander. There were no known associated reports of civilian harm.
Several sources, including @adnanalaegm, reported from around 02.15am that the strikes destroyed “terrorist” training camps and weapons stores. Several sources included images, though reverse image searches showed that all but one, posted by sources including @Younis_Hussein_, were generic pictures that pre-dated the allegation.
Twitter user @abdullah_Omrrr reported, slightly earlier than the other allegations, that Major General Abdul Rab Al-Shadadi had been killed by Emirati shelling of the Marib Third Regional Military Command. Given this, the event has been assessed as contested, with at least one alleged military death.
The reported action came in the aftermath of an Emirati air campaign in southern Yemen from August 28th to August 29th 2019, apparently in support of secessionist militias, which reportedly focused on Aden and the Abyan governorate. In a statement, the Emirati foreign ministry said that strikes targeted “terrorist militias”, though others indicated that the strikes were targeting the pro-government Yemeni military. AQAP militants have been previously reported to have fought alongside, and sometimes integrated into, Yemeni government forces.
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 incident occured around midnight.
Sources (27) [ collapse]
Geolocation notes (1) [ collapse]
Reports of the incident mention the Ma’rib (مارب) governorate, for which the generic coordinates are: 15.508089, 45.562719. 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