The Pentagon confirmed Friday that the United States launched more than 20 airstrikes against al Qaeda targets in three Yemeni provinces, killing seven militants. There have been no reports of any civilian casualties, a marked improvement from the last military action the raid that killed 30 civilians and a Navy SEAL.
Two US officials told CNN that manned and unmanned aircraft were used and that the military assesses that al Qaeda personnel were killed.
At least one strike on Thursday targeted a so-called “high value” al Qaeda member, but it remains unclear whether the US will announce the name of the person and whether officials believe he was killed in the operation.
“The strikes were conducted in partnership with the government of Yemen,” US Navy Capt. Jeff Davis said in a statement Thursday.
Davis went on to say that U.S. forces will continue to go after members of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula in the areas where they “are most active.” These airstrikes were in the planning phase that began in late 2016 and were carried out under President Trump’s broad authorization for the military commanders to take actions without his direct review.
While these raids were not apparently related to the intelligence gathered in the January 28 raid that killed 14 enemy fighters, 30 civilians (including an eight-year-old American citizen), and Navy SEAL William “Ryan” Owens, defense officials have sought to clarify the intelligence gathered from them.
President Trump said that this mission netted “large amounts” of actionable intelligence, a claim that nearly a dozen current and former officials have refuted. However one defense official who spoke to ABC News said that they did get some good intelligence about their communications network and they need to “further develop it out.”
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