Drone strikes kill 4 Qaeda suspects in Yemen

Miranda GreerMar 03, 2017

US intelligence officials are now trying to identify hundreds of al-Qaida operatives with contacts gleaned from a late night Jan 29 raid by Navy SEAL team 6 deep inside Yemen, CNN reports.

The value of the intelligence gathered during the raid, it's timing and whether the mission can be called a "success" has been a subject of public debate - with conflicting reports citing unnamed USA officials as saying both it yielded and didn't yield actionable intelligence.

No fewer than 10 different USA officials across different departments told NBC yesterday that no actionable intelligence had been produced by the operation.

Conducted in partnership with Yemen's government, the strikes were coordinated with President Abd Rabuh Mansur Hadi, Davis said. The vast region is known for its rocky mountains, which have been used by al-Qaida as a hideout.

The strikes are the first to target the terror group since a deadly January raid that left Chief Petty Officer Ryan Owens dead.

The U.S. raid in January killed some two dozen civilians, including Abdullah Mabkhout al-Ameri.

Four suspected al Qaeda members were killed in a drone strike on a building in southern Yemen on Thursday, residents and local officials said. Planning for the raid took place before he took office, Trump said on TV, and so, per the president, it was the generals who "lost Ryan".

The father of Owens told the Miami Herald he spurned Trump when the coffin arrived at Dover Air Force base, and that he demanded "an investigation" into his son's death.

During the operation, USA special operations forces killed 14 militants as well as civilians, including the eight-year-old daughter of previously assassinated al-Qaeda leader Anwar Awlaki. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren't authorized to speak to.

Al-Qaida in Yemen, seen as the militant group's most unsafe offshoot, has seized large swaths of land and entire cities starting from 2011, the year the mass uprising started and ended with longtime ruler Ali Abdullah Saleh leaving power.

The group has recently exploited the chaos of Yemen's civil war, which pits Shiite Houthi rebels and allied army units against a Saudi-led coalition battling to restore the internationally recognized government.

Authorities are using recovered data to find and monitor hundreds of people connected to one of Al Qaeda's most capable affiliate groups.

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