Civilian Casualties

Civilian Casualties

Incident Code

USYEMTr227

Incident date

May 16–17, 2020

Location

زنجبار‎, Arqoub, Abyan, Yemen

Geolocation

13.468889, 45.763889 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Nearby landmark level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Nearby landmark

Airwars assessment

A US drone strike reportedly killed an alleged AQAP leadership figure in the Arqoub area of Abyan governorate, on May 16th 2020. There were no known associated reports of civilian harm.

Local sources told Yemen Press Agency that a May 16th strike had targeted AQAP leader Saad Al-Atiqi Al-Awlaki: “An American drone strike on Saturday [May 16th] targeted a senior al-Qaeda leader who was fighting with Saudi-led coalition forces in Abyan province, southern Yemen. Local sources in the province told Yemen Press Agency that US aircraft targeted the al-Qaeda leading member Saad al-Atiqi al-Awlaqi in the Aqaba area, between Laudar district in Abyan and Mokiras district in Bayda province, while [he was] participating in the fighting alongside coalition forces against the Yemeni army and popular committees in Mokiras front.”

Others, such as Aden Press, further suggested that Al-Awlaki had been killed in the strike. AQAP fighters have previously been reported to have fought alongside and integrated into pro-government militant groups.

Some, including News Yemen and Sama Press, instead indicated that the strike took place on May 17th. Witnesses told News Yemen that an “unidentified reconnaissance plane” had flown over the Arqoub mountains earlier on the 17th.

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

The local time of the incident is unknown.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Likely strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    None known
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Suspected attacker
    United States Armed Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP)
  • Belligerents reported killed
    1

Sources (23) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (4) [ collapse]

  • The strike reportedly targeted alleged AQAP leader Saad Al-Atiqi Al-Awlaki (Yemen Press Agency, May 17th 2020)
  • Some sources alleged that Al-Awlaki was fighting alongside pro-government forces in the area (@RIYADH_MUTAHHIR, May 17th 2020)

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention the vicinity of the Arqoub (زنجبار‎) area, for which the generic coordinates are:13.468889, 45.763889. Due to limited satellite imagery and information available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further.

United States Armed Forces Assessment:

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

Original strike reports

United States Armed Forces

According to an email from CENTCOM to Airwars, there were no US military strikes during May 2020 in Yemen.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Likely strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    None known
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Suspected attacker
    United States Armed Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP)
  • Belligerents reported killed
    1

Sources (23) [ collapse]