The United States conducted its first targeted assassination by drone outside the hot battlefield in November 2002 in Marib province, killing five reported members of Al Qaeda. However US counterterrorism operations did not begin in earnest until 2009, prompted by the founding of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). The Obama Administration’s controversial campaign – which saw airstrikes by both the US military and the CIA – managed to suppress but not destroy AQAP, which continued to mount ambitious extraterritorial acts of terrorism. US counterterrorism strikes were expanded in October 2017 to include the local ISIS franchise.
Overall, more than 500 US airstrikes have been locally claimed in Yemen since 2009, resulting in several hundred locally documented civilian deaths. Airwars’ Yemen data, which incorporates earlier monitoring work by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, presently focuses on US actions from 2002 to 2012 and from 2017 onwards under President Donald Trump – and will shortly be expanded to include all known US strikes in Yemen since 2002. Reviews of reported US counterterrorism actions along with any associated civilian harm claims can be accessed either via our interactive mapping and timeline, or via the ‘US Strikes & Civilian Casualties’ tab above.