Research

Research

Published

May 2024

Written by

Anna Zahn, Emily Tripp, Joe Dyke, Megan Karlshoej-Pedersen and Rowena De Silva

The US has declared that its military actions in 2022 resulted in no civilians killed or injured, the first such release since a landmark policy intended to overhaul American practices and approaches to civilian harm across the globe.

▲ US military actions in 2022 involved an increase in support for partner forces, often including airdrops (Photo: U.S. Army)

Published

April 18, 2024

Written by

Megan Karlshoej-Pedersen

Header Image

Photo by Ahmad Al-Basha/Agence France-Presse, taken from Flickr under Creative Commons

In November 2023, Airwars and Article 36 co-convened a workshop to explore military perspectives on the opportunities and challenges arising in the implementation of the Political Declaration on Strengthening the Protection of Civilians from the Humanitarian Consequences Arising from the Use of Explosive Weapons in Populated Areas.

In the workshop report, we summarise the discussions held and challenges identified during the two-day workshop. We draw on these lessons, and our wider work on EWIPA, to make recommendations to states and militaries working to implement the declaration, and civil society organisations focused on supporting this process.

The workshop focused on exploring operational policies and practice regarding the use of explosive weapons during military operations in populated areas, with reference to the Declaration. Using a scenario-based approach, the workshop aimed to identify, and raise awareness of, changes to policies and practices that are necessary for the effective implementation of the operational provisions of the Declaration, ahead of the first official follow-up meeting of states and civil society which will be held in Oslo next week.

Participants in the workshop included active and retired members of national armed forces and defence ministry officials from 8 Western states, as well as participants from NATO, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), and civil society organisations.

Key findings 

A summary of the key recommendations and good practices outlined during the workshop are summarised below:

    Efforts to disseminate and promote engagement with the Declaration at the national level are required within relevant ministries and departments as well as the armed forces. A process of policy review, revision and development by signatory states is an essential element of the implementation process. To promote and implement the Declaration, it is vital to include both leaders at the strategic/political level as well as commanders at the operational level. Commanders have a key role to play in ensuring civilian harm is mitigated, particularly from the use of explosive weapons in populated areas. The Declaration’s central commitment points towards national-level policies and doctrines as the framework through which it should be implemented. Weapon selection, including a proper understanding of the technical effects of different weapons and how those effects will be influenced by the built environment, is critical to mitigating civilian harm from explosive weapons. States should critically review their approaches to and capacity for undertaking civilian harm tracking in line with established good practice.

The full workshop report can be found here.

▲ Photo by Ahmad Al-Basha/Agence France-Presse, taken from Flickr under Creative Commons

Incident Code

USYEMBi018

Incident date

March 22–23, 2024

Location

صنعاء, Sanaa, Sana'a, Yemen

Airwars assessment

A number of civilians were reportedly killed and injured by alleged US-UK airstrikes in Yemen on March 22/23, 2024.

The Houthi-run Human Rights Ministry, as quoted by Anadolu Agency and Saba News, “a number of civilians were killed and injured” by US-UK airstrikes in Yemen. No other information was available as to the number of civilian casualties.

Neither the US military not the UK military announced any airstrikes in Yemen on March 24th. However, multiple local sources reported that “American-British enemy aircraft carried out more than 16 raids on #Al-Hudaydah and #Sanaa governorates tonight, the most prominent of which were: 5 raids on Al-Munira District,# Al-Hudaydah; 4 raids on the Attan area in Al Wahda District,#Sanaa; 3 raids on the Jarban area in Sanhan District, #Sanaa; Two raids on the Al-Nahdain area in Al-Sabeen District, #Sanaa; A raid east of Azal District,#Sanaa.”

The local time of the incident is unknown.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Single source claim
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    2
  • Civilians reported injured
    2
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Weak
    Single source claim, though sometimes featuring significant information.
  • Suspected attackers
    US Forces, UK Military
  • Suspected target
    Houthi Forces

Sources (6) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (2) [ collapse]

  • Operational developments #Prosperity_Guard: American-British enemy aircraft carried out more than 16 raids on #Al-Hudaydah and #Sanaa governorates tonight, the most prominent of which were: 🔸5 raids on Al-Munira District,# Al-Hudaydah 🔸4 raids on the Attan area in Al Wahda District,#Sanaa 🔸3 raids on the Jarban area in Sanhan District, #Sanaa 🔸Two raids on the Al-Nahdain area in Al-Sabeen District, #Sanaa 🔸A raid east of Azal District,#Sanaa

US Forces Assessment:

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

UK Military Assessment:

  • Suspected belligerent
    UK Military
  • UK Military position on incident
    Not yet assessed

Summary

  • Strike status
    Single source claim
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    2
  • Civilians reported injured
    2
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Weak
    Single source claim, though sometimes featuring significant information.
  • Suspected attackers
    US Forces, UK Military
  • Suspected target
    Houthi Forces

Sources (6) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USYEMBi017

Incident date

February 29, 2024

Location

محيط المخا, Vicinity of Al Mukha, Taiz, Yemen

Geolocation

13.317916, 43.250109 Note: The accuracy of this location is to City level. Continue to map

Airwars assessment

At least two fishermen, including a 16-year old child, were killed and two others were injured by alleged US airstrikes or Houthi drone strikes off the coast of Al Mukha on February 29, 2024.

A tweet from @aalnaasi reported that US aircraft carried out two raids on a Yemeni fishing boat that was sailing near the British ship called the Rubymar, resulting in the death of a fisherman and the injury of others.” @gasm11taher identified two fishermen killed in the strike, from Al-Amoudi neighborhood in Mukha, adding that no one could enter the area to rescue the casualties for fear of follow-up airstrikes. Cratersky added that four boats were still missing at sea.

@Yemen_YF provided the highest casualty toll from Al Arabiya of four people killed, and blamed the casualties on a Houthi drone.

@Mahmud539 provided the name of victim Musa Taher, who was working on the boat at the time. Source Mujahid Al Qab stated that Taher Musa was 16 years old. The same sources added that Ali bin Ali Mudardar, 38 years old, was also killed. Muhammad Salem Zuhair, in his 30s, and Saleh Omar Hashash, 34 years old, were reported injured. Sources said that Muhammad and Saleh’s boat sunk from the strikes, and they swam around until they were rescued by another fishing boat, which then had an engine malfunction. They were finally rescued by another boat from the Fishermen’s Association.

The Al-Ziyadi Fish Cooperative Society spoke with the surviving fishermen who said that Ali bin Ali Mudardar’s body sunk along with his boat.

Tihama 24 News spoke with a local figure in the city of Mukha named Shawqi Ibrahim who said that “the fishermen approached the ship to conduct reconnaissance and obtain a video, before the air strikes surprised them” and that the fisherman were struck with a warplane, not a drone.

US Central Command released a statement that “On Feb. 29, between the hours of 6 p.m. and 7:15 p.m. (Sanaa time), U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) forces conducted two self-defense strikes against six mobile anti-ship cruise missiles that were prepared to launch towards the Red Sea.” It is unclear if the US statement is referencing the same strike which hit the fishing boat, as the US military did not provide a location.

This assessment was changed from fair to contested on March 12, 2024 based on information from sources @Yemen_YF and @aop11ds accusing the Houthis of being responsible for the strike.

The incident occured in the afternoon.

The victims were named as:

Ali bin Ali Mudardar علي بن علي مدردر
38 years old male killed
Musa Taher موسى طاهر
16 years old male killed
Muhammad Salem Zuhair محمد سالم زهير
31 years old male injured
Saleh Omar Hashash صالح عمر حشاش
34 years old male injured

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention alleged strikes off the coast of Al Mukha (المُخا), which is to the west of Taiz Governorate (تَعِزّ). The generic coordinates for the city of Al Mukha are: 13.317916, 43.250109.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Contested strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    2 – 4
  • (1 child1 man)
  • Civilians reported injured
    2
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Contested
    Competing claims of responsibility e.g. multiple belligerents, or casualties also attributed to ground forces.
  • Impact
    Food
    Impact on services or infrastructure relating to education, health or food supply. See methodology note for details.
  • Suspected attacker
    US Forces
  • Suspected target
    Houthi Forces

Sources (16) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (1) [ collapse]

  • Source: @gasm11taher

US Forces Assessment:

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

Original strike reports

US Forces

Feb. 29, 2024
Release Number 20240229 - 01
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
On Feb. 29, between the hours of 6 p.m. and 7:15 p.m. (Sanaa time), U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) forces conducted two self-defense strikes against six mobile anti-ship cruise missiles that were prepared to launch towards the Red Sea.
Earlier that evening, at approximately 5:10 p.m. (Sanna time), CENTCOM forces shot down an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) over the southern Red Sea in self-defense.
CENTCOM forces determined that the missiles and UAV presented an imminent threat to merchant vessels and to the U.S. Navy ships in the region. These actions will protect freedom of navigation and make international waters safer and more secure for U.S. Navy and merchant vessels.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Contested strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    2 – 4
  • (1 child1 man)
  • Civilians reported injured
    2
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Contested
    Competing claims of responsibility e.g. multiple belligerents, or casualties also attributed to ground forces.
  • Impact
    Food
    Impact on services or infrastructure relating to education, health or food supply. See methodology note for details.
  • Suspected attacker
    US Forces
  • Suspected target
    Houthi Forces

Sources (16) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USYEMBi016

Incident date

February 24, 2024

Location

حي صوفان, Sofan, Sana'a, Yemen

Geolocation

15.399286, 44.194547 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Neighbourhood/area level. Continue to map

Airwars assessment

Two civilians were injured by an alleged US-UK strike on the Sofan neighborhood of Sana’a on February 24, 2024.

Abdullah Ahmad Obaidi Al Rabi’i posted on Facebook that “on my way back home in the Sofan neighborhood, I encountered this missile strike by the American-British aggression occurring dozens of meters away in a densely populated residential neighborhood.”

According to @alharthalafari, the strike hit an insecticide factory which led to a fire and “civilian casualties”. Anadolu Agency quoted the Ministry of Public Health and Population of the unrecognized Houthi government who announced that “two civilians were injured as a result of the raids of the (American-British) aggression on the Al-Nahda neighborhood in the capital, Sana’a.” Yemen Data Project provided a similar casualty toll of two civilians injured.

US Central Command released a statement that “at approximately 11:45 p.m. (Sanaa Yemen time), U.S. Central Command forces alongside UK Armed Forces, and with support from Australia, Bahrain, Canada, Denmark, the Netherlands, and New Zealand, conducted strikes against 18 Houthi targets in Iranian-backed Houthi terrorist-controlled areas of Yemen….The targets included Houthi underground weapons storage facilities, missile storage facilities, one- way attack unmanned aerial systems, air defense systems, radars, and a helicopter.”

The UK Ministry of Defence announced: “Four Royal Air Force Typhoon FGR4s, supported by two Voyager tankers, again participated in a deliberate coalition strike on Saturday 24 February against Houthi military facilities in Yemen which had been conducting missile and drone attacks on commercial shipping and coalition naval forces in the Bab al Mandab, southern Red Sea, and Gulf of Aden. The RAF aircraft were allocated multiple targets located at two sites. Intelligence analysis had successfully identified several very long-range drones, used by the Houthis for both reconnaissance and attack missions, at a former surface-to-air missile battery site several miles north-east of Sanaa. Our aircraft used Paveway IV precision guided bombs against the drones and their launchers, notwithstanding the Houthis’ use of the old missile battery revetments to try to protect the drones.”

It is unclear if the US and/or UK statements are the same strikes which hit the Sofan neighborhood as the US and UK military did not provide a location.

The local time of the incident is unknown.

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention the neighbourhood of Sofan (سوفان) to the north of Sana’a (صَنْعَاء). Due to limited satellite imagery and information available to Airwars, we were unable to find boundaries for the neighbourhood and to verify the location further. The generic coordinates for Sofan are: 15.399286, 44.194547.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Likely strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Civilians reported injured
    2
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Fair
    Reported by two or more credible sources, with likely or confirmed near actions by a belligerent.
  • Suspected attackers
    US Forces, UK Military
  • Suspected target
    Houthi Forces

Sources (12) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (7) [ collapse]

  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    Source: The Guardian news
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    Source: The Guardian news
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    Source: @grantshapps
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

US Forces Assessment:

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

Original strike reports

US Forces

TAMPA, Fla. – On Feb. 24, at approximately 11:45 p.m. (Sanaa Yemen time), U.S. Central Command forces alongside UK Armed Forces, and with support from Australia, Bahrain, Canada, Denmark, the Netherlands, and New Zealand, conducted strikes against 18 Houthi targets in Iranian-backed Houthi terrorist-controlled areas of Yemen. These strikes from this multilateral coalition targeted areas used by the Houthis to attack international merchant vessels and naval ships in the region. Illegal Houthi attacks have disrupted humanitarian aid bound for Yemen, harmed Middle Eastern economies, and caused environmental damage.
The targets included Houthi underground weapons storage facilities, missile storage facilities, one- way attack unmanned aerial systems, air defense systems, radars, and a helicopter. These strikes are intended to degrade Houthi capability and disrupt their continued reckless and unlawful attacks on international commercial and U.S. and U.K. vessels in the Red Sea, Bab AI-Mandeb Strait, and the Gulf of Aden.
The goal of this multi-national effort is to defend ourselves, our partners, and allies in the region and restore freedom of navigation by destroying Houthi capabilities used to threaten U.S. and partner forces in the Red Sea and surrounding waterways. These strikes are separate and distinct from the multinational freedom of navigation actions performed under Operation Prosperity Guardian.

UK Military Assessment:

  • Suspected belligerent
    UK Military
  • UK Military position on incident
    Not yet assessed

Original strike reports

UK Military

Four Royal Air Force Typhoon FGR4s, supported by two Voyager tankers, again participated in a deliberate coalition strike on Saturday 24 February against Houthi military facilities in Yemen which had been conducting missile and drone attacks on commercial shipping and coalition naval forces in the Bab al Mandab, southern Red Sea, and Gulf of Aden.

The RAF aircraft were allocated multiple targets located at two sites.
Intelligence analysis had successfully identified several very long-range drones, used by the Houthis for both reconnaissance and attack missions, at a former surface-to-air missile battery site several miles north-east of Sanaa. Our aircraft used Paveway IV precision guided bombs against the drones and their launchers, notwithstanding the Houthis’ use of the old missile battery revetments to try to protect the drones.
Previous RAF strikes, on 11 January and 3 February, had already successfully destroyed a number of buildings used to support drone and cruise missile operations at Bani, some fifteen miles west of Abbs airfield in north-western Yemen. Additional buildings at the Bani site had subsequently been confirmed as also being involved in the drone and missile activities there and were therefore targeted during this latest strike.
In planning the strikes, as is normal practice with such RAF operations, the greatest possible care was taken to minimise any risk of civilian casualties.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Likely strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Civilians reported injured
    2
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Fair
    Reported by two or more credible sources, with likely or confirmed near actions by a belligerent.
  • Suspected attackers
    US Forces, UK Military
  • Suspected target
    Houthi Forces

Sources (12) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USYEMBi015

Incident date

February 24, 2024

Location

شامير, Shamir, Taiz, Yemen

Geolocation

13.681626, 43.703559 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Subdistrict level. Continue to map

Airwars assessment

One civilian was killed and between six and seven others, including at least one child, were injured by alleged US-UK airstrikes on a telecommunications site in the Shamir area in the Maqbanah District on February 24, 2024.

Anadolu Agency quoted the Houthi Al-Masirah satellite channel which reported that “a citizen (civilian) was killed and 6 others, all from one family, were injured, as a result of the US-British aggression’s air strikes on the Shamir area in the Maqbana District in Taiz Governorate.” The Yemen Data Project reported that in addition to the civilian who was killed, seven others were injured.

The Human Rights Office in Taiz Governorate condemned the “American-British aggression coalition aircraft carried out this morning” which struck “the communications network in the Al-Aqhouz area”. The Human Rights Office and the Insan Organization for Rights and Liberties also provided the names of the victims. Saber Muhammad Amin Ghalib, between 22-25 years old, was killed and six others were injured: Rafiq Abdullah Muhammad Hassan, 16-18 years old, various body parts; Watheq Abdullah Amin Ghalib, 25-28 years old, seriously injured; Abdel Samad Muhammad Ahmed Ghaleb, 15 years old, fracture of the right foot; Hammam Fayed Amir Ghalib, 32-41 years old, various body parts; Ahmed Muhammad Ahmed Ghaleb, 23 years old, various body parts; Saqr Hamid Hamid Ghalib, 22-24 years old, various body parts.

US Central Command released a statement that “at approximately 11:45 p.m. (Sanaa Yemen time), U.S. Central Command forces alongside UK Armed Forces, and with support from Australia, Bahrain, Canada, Denmark, the Netherlands, and New Zealand, conducted strikes against 18 Houthi targets in Iranian-backed Houthi terrorist-controlled areas of Yemen….The targets included Houthi underground weapons storage facilities, missile storage facilities, one- way attack unmanned aerial systems, air defense systems, radars, and a helicopter.”

The UK Ministry of Defence announced: “Four Royal Air Force Typhoon FGR4s, supported by two Voyager tankers, again participated in a deliberate coalition strike on Saturday 24 February against Houthi military facilities in Yemen which had been conducting missile and drone attacks on commercial shipping and coalition naval forces in the Bab al Mandab, southern Red Sea, and Gulf of Aden. The RAF aircraft were allocated multiple targets located at two sites. Intelligence analysis had successfully identified several very long-range drones, used by the Houthis for both reconnaissance and attack missions, at a former surface-to-air missile battery site several miles north-east of Sanaa. Our aircraft used Paveway IV precision guided bombs against the drones and their launchers, notwithstanding the Houthis’ use of the old missile battery revetments to try to protect the drones.”

It is unclear if the US and/or UK statements are the same strikes which hit the Shamir area as the US and UK military did not provide a location.

The incident occured around midnight.

The victims were named as:

Family members (6)

Saber Muhammad Amir Ghaleb صابر محمد امين غالب
22-25 years old killed
Watheq Abdullah Amin Ghalib وثيق عبدالله امين غالب
25-28 years old injured
Abdel Samad Muhammad Ahmed Ghaleb عبدالصمد محمد احمد غالب
15 years old injured
Hammam Fayed Amir Ghalib همام فايد امير غالب
32-41 years old injured
Ahmed Muhammad Ahmed Ghaleb احمد محمد احمد غالب
23 years old injured
Saqr Hamid Hamid Ghalib صقر حميد حامد غالب
22-24 years old injured

The victims were named as:

Rafiq Abdullah Muhammad Hassan رفيق عبدالله محمد حسان
16-18 years old male injured

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention the Shamir area (معان), potentially related to Shamir Alkadh (شمير القادح), allegedly located northwest of the Maqbanah district (مديرية مقبنة). Due to limited satellite imagery and information available to Airwars, we were unable to find boundaries for the area and to verify the location further. The generic coordinates for Samir Alkadh are: 13.681626, 43.703559.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Likely strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian infrastructure
    Power Station
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    1
  • Civilians reported injured
    6–7
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Fair
    Reported by two or more credible sources, with likely or confirmed near actions by a belligerent.
  • Suspected attackers
    US Forces, UK Military
  • Suspected target
    Houthi Forces

Sources (16) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (7) [ collapse]

  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    Source: Human rights office in Taizz
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    Source: Human rights office in Taizz
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    Source: Human rights office in Taizz
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    Source: The Guardiannews
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    Source: The Guardiannews
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    Source: @grantshapps
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

US Forces Assessment:

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

Original strike reports

US Forces

TAMPA, Fla. – On Feb. 24, at approximately 11:45 p.m. (Sanaa Yemen time), U.S. Central Command forces alongside UK Armed Forces, and with support from Australia, Bahrain, Canada, Denmark, the Netherlands, and New Zealand, conducted strikes against 18 Houthi targets in Iranian-backed Houthi terrorist-controlled areas of Yemen. These strikes from this multilateral coalition targeted areas used by the Houthis to attack international merchant vessels and naval ships in the region. Illegal Houthi attacks have disrupted humanitarian aid bound for Yemen, harmed Middle Eastern economies, and caused environmental damage.
The targets included Houthi underground weapons storage facilities, missile storage facilities, one- way attack unmanned aerial systems, air defense systems, radars, and a helicopter. These strikes are intended to degrade Houthi capability and disrupt their continued reckless and unlawful attacks on international commercial and U.S. and U.K. vessels in the Red Sea, Bab AI-Mandeb Strait, and the Gulf of Aden.
The goal of this multi-national effort is to defend ourselves, our partners, and allies in the region and restore freedom of navigation by destroying Houthi capabilities used to threaten U.S. and partner forces in the Red Sea and surrounding waterways. These strikes are separate and distinct from the multinational freedom of navigation actions performed under Operation Prosperity Guardian.

UK Military Assessment:

  • Suspected belligerent
    UK Military
  • UK Military position on incident
    Not yet assessed

Original strike reports

UK Military

Four Royal Air Force Typhoon FGR4s, supported by two Voyager tankers, again participated in a deliberate coalition strike on Saturday 24 February against Houthi military facilities in Yemen which had been conducting missile and drone attacks on commercial shipping and coalition naval forces in the Bab al Mandab, southern Red Sea, and Gulf of Aden.

The RAF aircraft were allocated multiple targets located at two sites.
Intelligence analysis had successfully identified several very long-range drones, used by the Houthis for both reconnaissance and attack missions, at a former surface-to-air missile battery site several miles north-east of Sanaa. Our aircraft used Paveway IV precision guided bombs against the drones and their launchers, notwithstanding the Houthis’ use of the old missile battery revetments to try to protect the drones.
Previous RAF strikes, on 11 January and 3 February, had already successfully destroyed a number of buildings used to support drone and cruise missile operations at Bani, some fifteen miles west of Abbs airfield in north-western Yemen. Additional buildings at the Bani site had subsequently been confirmed as also being involved in the drone and missile activities there and were therefore targeted during this latest strike.
In planning the strikes, as is normal practice with such RAF operations, the greatest possible care was taken to minimise any risk of civilian casualties.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Likely strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian infrastructure
    Power Station
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    1
  • Civilians reported injured
    6–7
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Fair
    Reported by two or more credible sources, with likely or confirmed near actions by a belligerent.
  • Suspected attackers
    US Forces, UK Military
  • Suspected target
    Houthi Forces

Sources (16) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USYEMBi014

Incident date

February 2, 2024

Location

مزارع الجار, ِAl Jar farms, Hajjah, Yemen

Geolocation

16.030247, 42.980695 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Neighbourhood/area level. Continue to map

Airwars assessment

A farm worker was injured by alleged US-UK airstrikes on a farm in the “Al-Jar Farms” area in Abs District on February 2, 2024.

According to Jameel Ahmad, American-British fighter jets launched four airstrikes against former President “Ali Saleh’s farm in the “Al-Jar Farms” area in Abs District,” which was a farm that the Houthis had converted to grow produce but “there was no military site there.” Jameel Ahmad also spoke with a source who said that reconnaissance planes had flown over the area earlier in the day “as dozens of workers were present on the farm, and that most of the farmers were able to leave before the bombing, while one of the farmers was moderately injured”. Al Mashhad News and Yemen data project reported a similar casualty number, and Al Mashhad News quoted Houthi sources who said that the strikes did not hit any vital or sensitive targets.

Islamic Republic News Agency reported similar details that the US-UK jointly carried out strikes on the city of Abs in Hajjah Province, according to a Yemeni intelligence official, hours after a British vessel was hit off the western coast of Yemen.

US Central Command released a statement that “at approximately 4:40 p.m. (Sanaa time), U.S. Central Command forces conducted strikes against four Houthi UAVs that were prepared to launch. U.S. forces identified the UAVs in Houthi-controlled areas of Yemen and determined that they presented an imminent threat to merchant vessels and the U.S. Navy ships in the region. U.S. forces subsequently struck and destroyed the UAVs in self-defense.” It is unclear if these are the same strikes which hit the farm as the US military did not provide a location.

The local time of the incident is unknown.

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention an alleged strike in the al Jar farms area (مزارع الجار) to the west of Abs (عبس). Due to limited satellite imagery and information available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further. The generic coordinates for the al Jar farms are: 16.030247, 42.980695.

{"type":"FeatureCollection","features":[{"type":"Feature","properties":{"stroke":"#ff0000","stroke-width":1,"stroke-opacity":1,"fill-opacity":0},"geometry":{"type":"Polygon","coordinates":[[[43.050957,16.0829295],[43.050957,15.9864145],[42.923069,15.9864145],[42.923069,16.0829295],[43.050957,16.0829295]]]}}]}

Summary

  • Strike status
    Likely strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian infrastructure
    Agriculture
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Civilians reported injured
    1
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Fair
    Reported by two or more credible sources, with likely or confirmed near actions by a belligerent.
  • Impact
    Food
    Impact on services or infrastructure relating to education, health or food supply. See methodology note for details.
  • Suspected attackers
    US Forces, UK Military, UK Military
  • Suspected target
    Houthi Forces

Sources (7) [ collapse]

US Forces Assessment:

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

Original strike reports

US Forces

TAMPA, Fla. - On Feb. 2, at approximately 10:30 a.m. (Sanaa time), USS Carney (DDG 64) engaged and shot down one unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) over the Gulf of Aden. There were no injuries or damage reported.
Later that same day, at approximately 4:40 p.m. (Sanaa time), U.S. Central Command forces conducted strikes against four Houthi UAVs that were prepared to launch. U.S. forces identified the UAVs in Houthi-controlled areas of Yemen and determined that they presented an imminent threat to merchant vessels and the U.S. Navy ships in the region. U.S. forces subsequently struck and destroyed the UAVs in self-defense.
Then, at 9:20 p.m. (Sanaa time), USS Laboon (DDG 58) and F/A-18s from the Dwight D. Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group engaged and shot down seven UAVs over the Red Sea. There were no injuries or damage reported. These actions will protect freedom of navigation and make international waters safer and more secure for U.S. Navy vessels and merchant vessels.

UK Military Assessment:

  • Suspected belligerent
    UK Military
  • UK Military position on incident
    Not yet assessed

UK Military Assessment:

  • Suspected belligerent
    UK Military
  • UK Military position on incident
    Not yet assessed

Summary

  • Strike status
    Likely strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian infrastructure
    Agriculture
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Civilians reported injured
    1
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Fair
    Reported by two or more credible sources, with likely or confirmed near actions by a belligerent.
  • Impact
    Food
    Impact on services or infrastructure relating to education, health or food supply. See methodology note for details.
  • Suspected attackers
    US Forces, UK Military, UK Military
  • Suspected target
    Houthi Forces

Sources (7) [ collapse]

Published

July 2023

This note is intended to accompany the data and findings following our publication of all alleged US actions in Yemen during Obama’s first term 2009-Jan 2013. These are all published as assessments available in our archive.

This is the first phase of work, with the second phase covering Obama’s second term, between 2013-17, still undergoing assessment and investigation.

Accompanying methodology notes will be made available on our website upon publication.

Dataset overview

An incident

Airwars uses an incident-based approach to document alleged US strikes in Yemen: each incident is defined as a moment in time and space where sources alleged US involvement in a drone or airstrike that led to the fatality or injury of civilians or militants.

We have also coded for damage to civilian infrastructure in cases where alleged US strikes were also reported to have caused casualties and injuries. Our definition of ‘infrastructure’ is evolving, but to date accounts for any mention of the following terms by sources: hospital, school, agriculture marketplaces, gas facility, power station, water station, religious place.

Where the exact time of an incident is unknown, deaths and injuries may be aggregated under one event until more information comes to light. Each incident is geolocated to the highest possible degree of accuracy by trained geolocation teams, though in general for this dataset the geolocation process in Yemen has been challenged by a lack of available incident related imagery.

Where locations cannot be identified, incidents will be aggregated until more information is known. All incidents are considered ‘live’ in our archive, and can be updated and changed to account for evolving information.

The Bureau of Investigative Journalism: preserving the original archive Airwars made extensive use and citation of data collected on US actions in Yemen by The Bureau of Investigative Journalism (TBIJ), who handed over their dataset and research to Airwars when their drone monitoring programme came to a close.

TBIJ’s research also includes incidents where no fatalities were recorded, and focused predominantly on English-language media. Though we have not otherwise investigated strikes without casualty allegations, these incidents have nevertheless been kept within the Airwars archive to preserve the original record, and include the following standard statement: “This incident was identified by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism and has been included in Airwars’ database even though no casualties are mentioned.”

Source identification

We assessed all known open source claims of US strikes in Yemen since 2009 that resulted in casualties. This includes covering all open source allegations of death or injury of ‘civilian non-combatants’ or ‘militants’.

Sources were identified by our trained team of Yemen researchers, using an incident-based method to develop a continuously evolving list of sources for monitoring and investigating allegations of US strikes. Out of more than 2,600 sources archived, 35% are Arabic language sources, and 65% are English language sources. These sources originate from Twitter (approx 40%), local and international media/NGos (approx 58%) as well as Facebook.

We included any and all information relevant to a single incident of US strikes, whether this includes mention of civilian or militant harm or not, and regardless of the affiliation of the source.

We have additionally conducted a data mapping exercise coordinating with other civil society and documentation groups in order to cross-check our database with existing and similar datasets.

All information is assessed, written up and archived within each assessment in order to allow the user of the dataset to conduct further investigation if needed.

‘Strike’ terminology

The term ‘strike’ is used throughout this document and in our analysis to mean a kinetic action; each assessment further classifies this action depending on the level of detail provided by sources relating to the incident – for example, a naval bombardment, airstrike or drone strike.

Strike status

No US strikes have been officially declared by either CENTCOM or by the CIA between 2002 and 2017.

Declared: Between 2009-Jan 2013, due to the nature of both CIA and US military involvement in Yemen, and the lack of official acknowledgment by the CIA for their involvement, in lieu of public reporting on CIA actions, Airwars graded events as ‘declared’ strikes due to either:

1. A US government official statement acknowledging responsibility – for example, Attorney General Eric Holder 2. Comments made by anonymous US government sources to major media outlets (ABC News, Fox News, Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles, Washington Post, Al Arabiya, Long War Journal) 3. Reference in leaked diplomatic cables regarding US involvement in specific strikes released by Wikileaks. The cables revealed that the Obama administration was instructing the Yemeni government to take credit for strikes carried out by the US military.

Likely: The likely strike classification applies to incidents in which all of the sources reported on the incident attributed the strikes to US forces. In cases where all of the sources attribute the strike to the US military, and Yemeni officials have acknowledged to the media that the strike was carried out by the US, the strike is qualified as “likely” as well.

Contested: The contested strike classification includes incidents in which attribution of the strike to the US military was not agreed upon by all sources reporting on the incident.

This category has also been used to capture incidents using a broad inclusion criteria that reflects on the likelihood of US involvement, even if it was not explicitly mentioned by the sources. This includes cases of precision strikes on a moving target during night time or drone strikes, which fit a wider likely pattern of US military engagement as well as the documented limitations of the Yemeni military to carry out these types of strikes. We have chosen this broad approach given the high level of secrecy around US actions, as well as findings from investigators and in Wikileaks around the Obama administration explicitly instructing the Yemeni government to take credit for US strikes.

Each case should be treated with caution and read closely in order to understand this designation, which is outlined clearly within each assessment.

Single source claims: only one source was found with an allegation of harm from US forces.