Civilian Casualties

Civilian Casualties

Incident Code

USYEMTr217

Incident date

January 20, 2020

Location

Special Forces School Mosque, Ma'rib, Yemen

Geolocation

15.477056, 45.317608 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Exact location (via Airwars) level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Exact location (via Airwars)

Airwars assessment

US drone strikes targeted what was described as the government ‘Central Security’ headquarters in Marib governorate, killing “terrorist” individuals, on the evening of January 20th 2020, according to a number of local language social media sources.

Other sources also reported that a military base, the “third military zone”, was targeted, with some assigning responsibility for the attack to Houthi military forces. There were no known associated reports of civilian harm.

Sources reporting a US drone strike gave varying casualty figures. A few Twitter users, including @hamzah_almorady and @SamarQah, indicated that there were “dozens of dead”, while user @ganoubhura indicated that eleven “terrorist elements” had been killed in a raid on the “Special Forces camp”. As such, minimum alleged militant deaths is set at eleven, with a maximum of 24, accounting for the reports of “dozens of dead”.

Other sources, which did not assign responsibility to the US, gave additional details on the attack, and indicated that there were no fatalities.  A military source told Arabi21 that a drone had targeted the Marib military headquarters, where the Special Forces School is based, but was shot down. The source indicated that the strike resulted in “no casualties”.

Twitter users @IkoAfortiori and @RebeccaRambar also reported explosions and anti-aircraft fire in the third military zone. Some suggested that soldiers had sustained injuries in the raid. A military source told Al-Masdar Online that seven government soldiers from the 13th Infantry Brigade were injured. Given these reports, minimum alleged military deaths is set at zero, while the minimum number of alleged military injuries is set at seven.

Some indicated that the strike was instead conducted by Houthi forces. Yemen Army Captain Hisham Mgdashi (@Hishammagdashy) suggested that the strike was conducted by Houthi forces, targeting the mosque of the Special Forces School at 6:57pm. Others, including @aslakaniali, further reported that a Houthi drone had been shot down in Marib.

While most indicated that the attack was conducted by an aircraft of some kind, Sky News Arabic instead suggested that the explosion was the result of a ballistic missile strike.

The reported strike came days after an alleged Houthi missile attack targeted a military training camp in Marib governorate, reportedly killing over 100 Yemeni military personnel.

US Central Command told Airwars that no US military strikes were conducted during January 2020. It is, however, possible that an undeclared strike was conducted by the CIA, or as part of a clandestine US military action.

The incident occured at 6:57 pm local time.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Contested strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Airstrike and/or Artillery, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    None known
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Suspected attackers
    United States Armed Forces, Houthi Forces
  • Suspected target
    Unknown
  • Belligerents reported killed
    0–24
  • Belligerents reported injured
    7

Sources (30) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (6) [ collapse]

  • Multiple sources suggested that the Third Military Zone was targeted by at least one strike, but disagreed on the identify of the belligerent and casualty numbers (@IkoAfortiori, January 20th 2020)
  • Alleged video of damage to the Marib Third Military Zone Special Forces School.

Geolocation notes (4) [ collapse]

Reports of the incident mention a strike on the mosque of the Special Forces School in the Third Military Zone, Ma’rib (مريب ) city. Combining audiovisual material and evidence of structural damage from satellite imagery, we have found the exact location of this strike, for which the coordinates are: 15.477056, 45.317608.

  • Reports of the incident mention a strike on the mosque of the Special Forces School in the Third Military Zone, Ma’rib (مريب ) city. Combining audiovisual material and evidence of structural damage from satellite imagery, we have found the exact location of this strike.

    Imagery:
    Google Earth

  • Side by side comparison of structural damage. Left is imagery from 24/07/2019, while right is dated as 07/02/2020.

    Imagery:
    Google Earth

  • Tagged satellite imagery.

    Imagery:
    Google Earth

  • Tagged audiovisual source.

    Imagery:
    @RebeccaRambar

United States Armed Forces Assessment:

  • Suspected belligerent
    United States Armed Forces
  • United States Armed Forces position on incident
    Not yet assessed

Houthi Forces Assessment:

  • Suspected belligerent
    Houthi Forces
  • Houthi Forces position on incident
    Not yet assessed

Summary

  • Strike status
    Contested strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Airstrike and/or Artillery, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    None known
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Suspected attackers
    United States Armed Forces, Houthi Forces
  • Suspected target
    Unknown
  • Belligerents reported killed
    0–24
  • Belligerents reported injured
    7

Sources (30) [ collapse]