Civilian Casualties

Civilian Casualties

Incident Code

USYEMTr230

Incident date

September 4, 2020

Location

شقرة, Shakra, Abyan, Yemen

Geolocation

13.35663, 45.699426 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Town level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Town

Airwars assessment

Some local-language social media sources suggested that a US drone strike targeted alleged militants in Shaqra, Khanfar district of Abyan governorate, early on September 4th 2020. Most reports, however, instead indicated that strikes had been carried out by a drone of the UAE or UAE-backed Southern Transitional Council just after midnight, targeting forces associated with the Saudi-backed government of President Hadi. There were no known reports of civilian harm.

Two of the sources that alleged US responsibility for the strike indicated that AQAP or ISIS militants had been the target. One local-language Twitter user, @marib__dam, reported that a US drone had bombed a “car carrying al-Qaeda operatives, including Abu al-Bara al-Qifi and his companions in Shaqra”, while @hsin_sad reported that a US drone had “burned ISIS and al-Qaeda groups” in Shaqra.

A third Twitter source, @Mukhtar03296421, indicated that a US drone had instead targeted a car next to “militias affiliated with the Yemeni government”, killing “dozens” of militants.

News sources, however, instead assigned responsibility to the UAE or UAE-backed Southern Transitional Council, with some suggesting that the strike reflected the first use of drones in the conflict by these parties.

The Yemen Press Agency reported that, according to “sources”, a drone “likely belonging to the UAE carried out two raids after midnight on Thursday, which bombed Hadi and Islah militias groups in Shakra district”, killing and wounding “several”. Likewise, Debriefer indicated that strikes “believed to be carried out by the forces of the UAE-backed southern transitional council” had injured “at least 12 government troops, including a senior officer”.

According to Right Now Times, a Yemeni military source told Sputnik that “two unidentified drones” had conducted two strikes in the area, injuring four soldiers and damaging a vehicle. According to the report, the targeted forces responded with anti-aircraft fire. The reported original Sputnik article could not be found by Airwars researchers.

Given competing ascriptions of responsibility for the alleged strike, this event has been assessed by Airwars as “contested”. At least four belligerents were reportedly injured, with a maximum of twelve. Accounting for the allegation of “several” killed and wounded, minimum reported belligerent deaths has been set at two, with a maximum of twenty-four, accounting for the report of “dozens” killed.

The incident occured around midnight.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Contested strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    None known
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Suspected attackers
    United States Armed Forces, United Arab Emirates Armed Forces
  • Suspected targets
    Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), ISIS - Yemen, Other
  • Belligerents reported killed
    2–24
  • Belligerents reported injured
    4–12

Sources (9) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (4) [ collapse]

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention strikes in the town of Shakra (شقرة), for which the generic coordinates are: 13.35663, 45.699426. 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

United Arab Emirates Armed Forces Assessment:

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

Summary

  • Strike status
    Contested strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    None known
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Suspected attackers
    United States Armed Forces, United Arab Emirates Armed Forces
  • Suspected targets
    Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), ISIS - Yemen, Other
  • Belligerents reported killed
    2–24
  • Belligerents reported injured
    4–12

Sources (9) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USYEMTr229

Incident date

July 3, 2020

Location

قصر محافظ محافظة شبوة, Palace of the Governor of Shabwa, Shabwa, Yemen

Geolocation

14.536605, 46.830683 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Exact location (via Airwars) level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Exact location (via Airwars)

Airwars assessment

According to some local language social-media sources, a US drone strike targeted the home of Shabwa Governor Mohammed Salih Bin Adiyu in Ataq city, Shabwa, late on July 3rd 2020. Most sources, however, including local news outlets, instead reported that a fire had broken out in the building, leading to the explosion of a weapons store. No known sources gave information on casualties, and there were no known reports of civilian harm.

Social-media sources including @Mohamme19780462, @Shalal_Gaman, and @g3raan31 suggested the building was targeted as a meeting of alleged AQAP or ISIS “terrorists” took place.

News outlets, including Al-Masshad Al-Yemeni, Aden TM, and Yemen Press Agency, instead reported that a fire had broken out in the house. Local sources told Yemen Press Agency that a short-circuit had caused the fire, which had ignited ammunition and weapons stockpiles in the building, leading to “huge explosions”. These sources describe a state of panic in the local area due to these explosions.

Given disputed reporting on the origins of the fire and explosions, this event has been assessed by Airwars as “contested”.

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

The incident occured during the night.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Contested strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    None known
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Suspected attacker
    United States Armed Forces
  • Suspected targets
    Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), ISIS - Yemen

Sources (10) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (7) [ collapse]

  • Some social-media sources suggested that a US drone strike had targeted "terrorists" in the house of the Shabwa governor (@Mohamme19780462, July 3rd 2020)
  • News outlets, however, instead reported that a fire had broken out in the building due to an electrical fault (@Mohamme19780462, July 3rd 2020)
  • The fire reportedly led to explosions when an ammunition store was ignited (@Mohamme19780462, July 3rd 2020)
  • Explosions reportedly took place in the house of Shabwa governor, Mohammed bin Adiyu (@g3raan31, July 3rd 2020)

Geolocation notes (3) [ collapse]

Reports of the incident mention the Palace of the Governor of Shabwa (قصر محافظ محافظة شبوة) being struck, within the city of Ataq (عــتق). Using visual footage from the incident we have identified the exact location of this strike, for which the coordinates are: 14.536605, 46.830683.

  • Reports of the incident mention the Palace of the Governor of Shabwa (قصر محافظ محافظة شبوة) being struck, within the city of Ataq (عــتق). Using visual footage from the incident we have identified the exact location of this strike.

    Imagery:
    Google Earth

  • Tagged visual material from sources.

    Imagery:
    @Mohamme19780462

  • Tagged satellite imagery.

    Imagery:
    Google Earth

United States Armed Forces Assessment:

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

Summary

  • Strike status
    Contested strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    None known
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Suspected attacker
    United States Armed Forces
  • Suspected targets
    Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), ISIS - Yemen

Sources (10) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USYEMTr226

Incident date

May 13, 2020

Location

شقرة, Shakra, Abyan, Yemen

Geolocation

13.35663, 45.699426 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Town level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Town

Airwars assessment

At least one US drone strike reportedly targeted alleged AQAP militants in or near the coastal town of Shakra, in Abyan governorate, on May 13th 2020. There were no known associated reports of civilian harm.

Local sources told Al-Mandeb that AQAP leader Abu Al-Bara Al-Qifi was killed in a strike against an AQAP site “near the Shakra area”. Yemen Press Agency also reported that strikes took place in Shakra, allegedly targeting AQAP militants amongst pro-government forces. AQAP militants have previously been reported to have fought alongside or integrated into pro-government groups.

A single source, @ALhairan134, appeared to allege that ISIS forces had instead been the target of the strike.

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 action. A separate confirmed US strike, likely conducted by the CIA, also took place on this date against a high-value AQAP target, Abdullah al-Maliki.

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 targets
    Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), ISIS - Yemen
  • Belligerents reported killed
    1

Sources (12) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (3) [ collapse]

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention strikes in the vicinity or within the coastal town of Shakra (شقرة), for which the generic coordinates are: 13.35663, 45.699426. 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 targets
    Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), ISIS - Yemen
  • Belligerents reported killed
    1

Sources (12) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USYEMTr210

Incident date

August 31, 2019

Location

مارب, Ma'rib, Yemen

Geolocation

15.508089, 45.562719 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Province/governorate level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Province/governorate

Airwars assessment

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.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Contested strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Artillery, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    None known
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Suspected attackers
    United States Armed Forces, United Arab Emirates Armed Forces
  • Suspected targets
    Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), ISIS - Yemen
  • Belligerents reported killed
    1

Sources (27) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (4) [ collapse]

  • All other known alleged pictures of the strike could be found to pre-date the allegation through a reverse image search (@abowaheep1, August 31st 2019)
  • One source posted an alleged video of the strike.

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.

  • Reports of the incident mention the Ma’rib (مارب) governorate.

    Imagery:
    Google Earth

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

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

United Arab Emirates Armed Forces Assessment:

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

Summary

  • Strike status
    Contested strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Artillery, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    None known
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Suspected attackers
    United States Armed Forces, United Arab Emirates Armed Forces
  • Suspected targets
    Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), ISIS - Yemen
  • Belligerents reported killed
    1

Sources (27) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USYEMTr197

Incident date

March 30, 2019

Location

مديرية الصومعة, Al Suma'a, Al Bayda, Yemen

Geolocation

14.166667, 45.831111 Note: The accuracy of this location is to District level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

District

Airwars assessment

Three alleged AQAP militants, including at least one leadership figure, were reportedly killed by a US drone strike in Bayda governorate on March 30th 2019. Though most suggested that the strike took place in Sama’a district, two sources, including Xinhua, instead located the strike in the Anah or Tayeb area of Dhi Naseem district.

Sources, including Huna Al-Bayda, News Yemen, and Al-Masdar Online, named those killed as Abu Ammar Al-Hadrami, Mohammed Salem Umqaida Abu Yusuf Al-Fahtani, and Abu Abdul Ilah al-Mantheri. Xinhua suggested that others were injured in the strike. As such, Airwars has assessed that a minimum of two militants were reportedly injured.

Huna Al-Bayda described Al-Hadrami as an AQAP mufti and leader, who “issued fatwas to authorise crimes and carry out terrorist operations”. Al-Fahtani was reported by one source, Yaqeen Online, to be a Saudi national, though others suggested he was from the Ambqria area of Mudiya district, in Abyan governorate. Al-Mantheri was alleged to be from Sama’a district in Bayda; Huna Al-Bayda described him as AQAP’s emir in Mudiya district. Sources variously suggested that at least one and as many as all of those killed were leadership figures in AQAP.

According to academic Dr Elisabeth Kendall, AQAP stated that a US drone had targeted its fighters on March 30th, who were battling Islamic State in Bayda governorate at the time. While most reported that the targets were AQAP militants, some initial local-language social media responses, from accounts such as @kyanalyamani51, suggested that the strike had targeted “ISIS-funded” militants.

The US did not publicly report a strike on March 30th, though a CENTCOM spokesperson told New America that two strikes (listed by Airwars as USYEMTr196 and USYEMTr195) took place in Bayda on March 29th. Since no other sources reported strikes on the 29th, it is possible that one or both of these declared strikes were part of this event. However all local sources were quite clear that this incident occurred on Saturday March 30th. It therefore remains possible that this was either a CIA or Saudi-led Coalition action.

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 targets
    Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), ISIS - Yemen
  • Belligerents reported killed
    3
  • Belligerents reported injured
    2

Sources (30) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (6) [ collapse]

  • One source, Yemen News, attached this image, seemingly of one of the dead. It was unclear which person the image was alleged to show. (March 31st 2019)
  • AQAP stated that a US drone had targeted its fighters in Bayda on March 30th 2019 (@Dr_E_Kendall, April 2nd 2019)

Geolocation notes (1) [ collapse]

Reports of the incident mention the Al Suma’a District (مديرية الصومعة) for which the generic coordinates are: 14.166667, 45.831111. Due to limited satellite imagery and information available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further.

  • Reports of the incident mention the Al Suma’a District (مديرية الصومعة).

    Imagery:
    Google Earth

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

Our Yemen strikes data has been updated for individualized dates after CENTCOM responded to an inquiry on the eight strikes in 2019. Strikes were as follows: 1/1, 1/21, 3/25, 3/25, 3/26, 3/28, 3/29, and 3/29. All but 1/1 in al Bayda'

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 targets
    Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), ISIS - Yemen
  • Belligerents reported killed
    3
  • Belligerents reported injured
    2

Sources (30) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USYEMTr158

Incident date

March 22, 2018

Location

Al Rawda, Marib, Yemen

Geolocation

15.448882, 45.345554 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Neighbourhood/area level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Neighbourhood/area

Airwars assessment

At least five alleged AQAP militants were reportedly killed by a US drone strike that targeted a house in the Rawdah area, south of Marib city, early on March 22nd 2018.  There were no known associated reports of civilian harm.

Yemeni tribal leaders told Associated Press that seven had been killed in the strike. Several local language sources including Facebook page @tarebhtoday and Erem News, as well as Sputnik News, similarly reported that seven had died, and indicated that drones had remained in the area in the aftermath of the strike.

A provincial security official told Xinhua, however, that “at least five” had died in the attack, which allegedly targeted a farm.

All but two sources suggested those killed were AQAP members. @Shalal_Gaman and @JmtfWYvkyAY9XjA, instead claimed that they were ISIS-affiliated militants, though similarity in wording indicated that the latter source may have been a bot copying the former.

A list of recent US military strikes provided by CENTCOM to the Long War Journal made no mention of an action on this date. This does not however preclude a CIA strike.

The incident occured around dawn.

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 targets
    Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), ISIS - Yemen
  • Belligerents reported killed
    5–7

Sources (29) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (1) [ collapse]

Geolocation notes (1) [ collapse]

Reports of the incident mention a house being struck in the Al Rawda (الروضة) area, south of Ma’rib (مأرب) city. Due to limited satellite imagery and information available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further. The generic coordinates for Al Rawda are: 15.448882, 45.345554.

  • Reports of the incident mention a house being struck in the Al Rawda (الروضة) area, south of Ma’rib (مأرب) city.

    Imagery:
    Google Earth

United States Armed Forces Assessment:

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

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 targets
    Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), ISIS - Yemen
  • Belligerents reported killed
    5–7

Sources (29) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USYEMTr146-C

Incident date

February 12, 2018

Location

البيضاء, Al Bayda, Yemen

Geolocation

14.313489, 45.305892 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Province/governorate level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Province/governorate

Airwars assessment

A US strike took place in Bayda governorate against an unspecified target on February 12th 2018, a US Central Command spokesperson later told the Long War Journal.

One source at the time of the attack, Yemen Monitor, claimed: “American drones launched more than once raids targeting sites of the Popular Resistance in Al Bayda Governorate, central Yemen, which resulted in deaths and injuries of resistance elements, in addition to civilian casualties.” Though generic, these reported civilian casualties are accounted for in this event.

Two other local-language social media sources, @egl3000 and @khmaf666, reported on the morning of February 13th that a US strike had killed seven. The former indicated that the dead were pro-government soldiers, including one officer; while the latter instead indicated that they were ISIS fighters. It is possible that these sources referred to a distinct reported strike, USYEMTr145.

To account for these claims, Airwars has assessed that at least two civilians were reportedly killed in the strike, accounting for the description of plural casualties, though this claim has been assessed as ‘Weak’. Seven reported belligerent casualties are recorded, as well as at least two wounded, though it was unclear whether those recorded were soldiers or non-state forces.

In its annual civilian casualty report to Congress issued in April 2019, the US Department of Defense stated that it had assessed “no credible reports of civilian casualties resulting from US military actions in Yemen during 2018″.

Responding to Airwars’ publication of its Yemen dataset and accompanying report in October 2020, CENTCOM dismissed all but two civilian harm claims under President Trump, asserting that “USCENTCOM conducted a thorough review of the information AirWars provided regarding allegations of potential civilian harm caused by USCENTCOM strikes in Yemen from 2017-2020… The bulk of the information asserted by AirWars, however, did not correspond with dates and locations of U.S. military strikes or raids in Yemen.   Other AirWars allegations either did not allege civilian harm or were not assessed as credible upon our review.”

The local time of the incident is unknown.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    2
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Weak
    Single source claim, though sometimes featuring significant information.
  • Known attacker
    United States Armed Forces
  • Suspected targets
    ISIS - Yemen, Other
  • Belligerents reported killed
    7
  • Belligerents reported injured
    2

Sources (7) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (2) [ collapse]

Geolocation notes (1) [ collapse]

Reports of the incident mention the Al Bayda (البيضاء) governorate. Due to limited satellite imagery and information available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further. The generic coordinates for Al Bayda governorate are: 14.313489, 45.305892.

  • Reports of the incident mention the Al Bayda (البيضاء) governorate.

    Imagery:
    Google Earth

United States Armed Forces Assessment:

  • Known belligerent
    United States Armed Forces
  • United States Armed Forces position on incident
    Non credible / Unsubstantiated
    Insufficient information to assess that, more likely than not, a Coalition strike resulted in civilian casualties.
  • Civilian deaths conceded
    None
  • Civilian injuries conceded
    None

Civilian casualty statements

United States Armed Forces
  • Nov 5, 2020
  • May 2, 2019
  • C. U.S. military action in Yemen against al-Qa’ida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and ISIS During 2018, U.S. forces deployed to Yemen continued to work towards disrupting and degrading the terrorist threat posed by AQAP and ISIS. U.S. forces conducted 36 airstrikes against AQAP and ISIS operatives and facilities in Yemen and supported United Arab Emirates and Yemen-led efforts to clear AQAP from Shabwah Governorate. DoD has no credible reports of civilian casualties resulting from U.S. military actions in Yemen during 2018.

  • Via email: U.S. Central Command (USCENTCOM) continues to focus on ways to minimize civilian casualties during its military operations. We assess or review all reports of civilian casualties because such assessments or reviews help us identify ways to improve our operations and counter misinformation and propaganda. We routinely share the results of every one of our assessments in Department of Defense (DoD) reports to Congress, including annual reports, many of which are publicly available. We also share the results of our assessments or reviews with the public via the USCENTCOM website and our statements to the media. Individuals wishing to understand U.S. military operations in Yemen more fully should consult these official sources of information. USCENTCOM conducted a thorough review of the information AirWars provided regarding allegations of potential civilian harm caused by USCENTCOM strikes in Yemen from 2017-2020. Of the information AirWars provided, one strike on September 14, 2017, was assessed to have caused injuries to two civilians. Also, as previously released by USCENTCOM to the public in February 2017, USCENTCOM acknowledged there may have been civilian casualties during a raid on January 29, 2017. The bulk of the information asserted by AirWars, however, did not correspond with dates and locations of U.S. military strikes or raids in Yemen. Other AirWars allegations either did not allege civilian harm or were not assessed as credible upon our review. Consistent with our mission, our authorities, and our obligations under the law of war, USCENTCOM will continue to conduct military actions in Yemen when required to protect the Nation and our allies and partners from al Qa’ida and ISIS terror cells that are committed to inflicting terror. In every strike and raid, we take careful measures to minimize civilian harm and take responsibility for our actions. When our military operations result in reports of civilian harm, we will continue to assess the credibility of such reports to help us identify ways to improve our operations and respond as appropriate.

Original strike reports

United States Armed Forces

In a major move toward transparency, US Central Command (CENTCOM) provided details to FDD’s Long War Journal on US air strikes against Al Qaeda’s branch in Yemen. Since early 2017, the military previously provided little information on the Yemen air campaign, typically providing only an aggregate number and limited detail on high-value target strikes.
In an email to LWJ, CENTCOM’s Major Josh T. Jacques disclosed the dates and locations of the last five months of strikes in Yemen. The information revealed that since the beginning of 2018, the US campaign against Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) in Yemen has focused on three governorates: Hadramout (eight strikes), Al Bayda (17), and Shabwa (three), demonstrating the eastern reach of the terrorist group.
Last year’s publicized strikes were concentrated in the central governorates of Al Bayda and Marib.
Location of US air strikes against AQAP and the Islamic State in 2018:
– Jan. 2018: Ten total strikes. The US conducted 8 strikes against AQAP in Bayda on Jan. 1, 3, 9, 12, 13, 20, 25, and 29. An additional strike against AQAP in Shabwah occurred on Jan. 26. An additional strike against the Islamic State occurred on Jan. 12 in Bayda.
– Feb. 2018: Six total strikes, all in Al Bayda governorate. Strikes occurred on Feb. 7, 11, 12, 16, and 24 (two strikes were conducted on Feb. 24).
– Mar. 2018: Seven total strikes, six of which occurred in Hadramout. Strikes occurred on Mar. 4 (two strikes), 5, 7, 8, and 13. An additional strike in Bayda occurred on March 29. [AQAP’s apparent entrenchment in eastern Yemen is concerning. In addition to the concentration of strikes in Hadramout, CENTCOM previously disclosed that AQAP operated training camps in the governorate as recently as April 2018, when they were targeted by American strikes.]
– Apr. 2018: Four total strikes, one each in Shabwah (April 26) and Al Bayda (April 23), and two in Hadramout (both on April 11).
– May 2018: One strike, in Shabwah on May 14.
– Jun. 2018: No strikes to date.
The US military has stepped up its counterterrorism campaign against al Qaeda’s branch in Yemen as well as the Islamic State since President Trump took office in 2017. Last year, the US launched 131 strikes (125 against AQAP and six against the Islamic State), nearly tripling the previous yearly high of 44 strikes in 2016.
At the current pace, the US will fall far short of that mark; there have been 28 strikes reported by CENTCOM in Yemen in the first five months of 2018.
This counterterrorism campaign has targeted AQAP’s infrastructure, including its training camps and media operations, which serve as a hub for al Qaeda’s global communications. The US has killed several mid-level AQAP leaders and media officials in its air campaign.
Despite suffering setbacks after seizing large areas of southern and central Yemen between 2015-2016, AQAP remains a persistent threat to both the embattled Yemeni government and US interests worldwide. AQAP still controls remote rural areas in Yemen and operates training camps. The group’s master bomb maker, Ibrahim al Asiri, who has engineered several bombs which have evaded airport security, remains one of the most wanted jihadists on the planet.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    2
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Weak
    Single source claim, though sometimes featuring significant information.
  • Known attacker
    United States Armed Forces
  • Suspected targets
    ISIS - Yemen, Other
  • Belligerents reported killed
    7
  • Belligerents reported injured
    2

Sources (7) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USYEMTr136

Incident date

January 12, 2018

Location

البيضاء, Al Bayda, Yemen

Geolocation

14.313489, 45.305892 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Province/governorate level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Province/governorate

Airwars assessment

A US strike targeted ISIS in Bayda governorate on January 12th 2018, a US Central Command spokesperson later told Long War Journal. No other known sources reported a US strike against ISIS at that time.

It is possible that this statement referred to one of the US strikes reportedly conducted in Qayfa on January 12th 2018, though no known sources mentioned ISIS targets in these actions.

CENTCOM also told Long War Journal that a US strike targeted AQAP in Bayda on January 12th, which is accounted for in event USYEMTr132.

The local time of the incident is unknown.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian harm reported
    None known
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Known attacker
    United States Armed Forces
  • Suspected target
    ISIS - Yemen

Sources (2) [ collapse]

Geolocation notes (1) [ collapse]

Reports of the incident mention the Al Bayda (البيضاء) governorate. Due to limited satellite imagery and information available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further. The generic coordinates for Al Bayda governorate are: 14.313489, 45.305892.

  • Reports of the incident mention the Al Bayda (البيضاء) governorate

    Imagery:
    Google Earth

United States Armed Forces Assessment:

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

Original strike reports

United States Armed Forces

In a major move toward transparency, US Central Command (CENTCOM) provided details to FDD’s Long War Journal on US air strikes against Al Qaeda’s branch in Yemen. Since early 2017, the military previously provided little information on the Yemen air campaign, typically providing only an aggregate number and limited detail on high-value target strikes.

In an email to LWJ, CENTCOM’s Major Josh T. Jacques disclosed the dates and locations of the last five months of strikes in Yemen. The information revealed that since the beginning of 2018, the US campaign against Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) in Yemen has focused on three governorates: Hadramout (eight strikes), Al Bayda (17), and Shabwa (three), demonstrating the eastern reach of the terrorist group.

Last year’s publicized strikes were concentrated in the central governorates of Al Bayda and Marib.

Location of US air strikes against AQAP and the Islamic State in 2018:

– Jan. 2018: Ten total strikes. The US conducted 8 strikes against AQAP in Bayda on Jan. 1, 3, 9, 12, 13, 20, 25, and 29. An additional strike against AQAP in Shabwah occurred on Jan. 26. An additional strike against the Islamic State occurred on Jan. 12 in Bayda.

– Feb. 2018: Six total strikes, all in Al Bayda governorate. Strikes occurred on Feb. 7, 11, 12, 16, and 24 (two strikes were conducted on Feb. 24).

– Mar. 2018: Seven total strikes, six of which occurred in Hadramout. Strikes occurred on Mar. 4 (two strikes), 5, 7, 8, and 13. An additional strike in Bayda occurred on March 29. [AQAP’s apparent entrenchment in eastern Yemen is concerning. In addition to the concentration of strikes in Hadramout, CENTCOM previously disclosed that AQAP operated training camps in the governorate as recently as April 2018, when they were targeted by American strikes.]

– Apr. 2018: Four total strikes, one each in Shabwah (April 26) and Al Bayda (April 23), and two in Hadramout (both on April 11).

– May 2018: One strike, in Shabwah on May 14.

– Jun. 2018: No strikes to date.

The US military has stepped up its counterterrorism campaign against al Qaeda’s branch in Yemen as well as the Islamic State since President Trump took office in 2017. Last year, the US launched 131 strikes (125 against AQAP and six against the Islamic State), nearly tripling the previous yearly high of 44 strikes in 2016.

At the current pace, the US will fall far short of that mark; there have been 28 strikes reported by CENTCOM in Yemen in the first five months of 2018.

This counterterrorism campaign has targeted AQAP’s infrastructure, including its training camps and media operations, which serve as a hub for al Qaeda’s global communications. The US has killed several mid-level AQAP leaders and media officials in its air campaign.

Despite suffering setbacks after seizing large areas of southern and central Yemen between 2015-2016, AQAP remains a persistent threat to both the embattled Yemeni government and US interests worldwide. AQAP still controls remote rural areas in Yemen and operates training camps. The group’s master bomb maker, Ibrahim al Asiri, who has engineered several bombs which have evaded airport security, remains one of the most wanted jihadists on the planet.

Note: This article was updated to include the dates and locations of Jan. 2018 strikes.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian harm reported
    None known
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Known attacker
    United States Armed Forces
  • Suspected target
    ISIS - Yemen

Sources (2) [ collapse]