US carries out more strikes in Yemen, US officials tell Reuters

Darin HammondMar 04, 2017

US forces conducted a series of precision strikes in Yemen against the al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula terrorist organization early this morning, Pentagon spokesman Navy Capt. Jeff Davis said.

The 20 precision strikes targeted militants, equipment and infrastructure, Pentagon spokesman Capt Jeff Davis said.

Residents also cited ground battles involving American soldiers and al Qaeda militants but two US officials told Reuters the latest operations did not involve ground combat.

Al-Qaeda has exploited a power vacuum created by two years of war between Yemen's government and Shiite rebels who control the capital to consolidate its presence, particularly in the south and east.

Davis said the strikes were conducted in coordination with Hadi's government.

Computers and cellphones seized during that raid offered clues about attacks al-Qaida could carry out in the future, including insights into new types of hidden explosives the group is making and new training tactics for militants, US officials said. On Jan. 29, the Pentagon launched the commando raid against the same branch of al-Qaeda that resulted in the death of Navy SEAL William "Ryan" Owens.

The missions were the first since a January 28 special ops raid on an al-Qaida compound that killed Chief Petty Officer William "Ryan" Owens and injured three other Marines. Six American soldiers were wounded and a military aircraft had to be destroyed after a hard landing.

"We have not announced all strikes in Yemen", the official said.

The analyst further argued that despite Pentagon's announcements that the United States strikes have killed militants, the latest drone attacks in Yemen have most probably massacred civilians.

One resident said it had been a "terrifying night".

Al-Jaouf added that the top tribal figure, Abdel-Elah al-Dhahab, whose brothers were accused of links to al-Qaida and were killed in the January raid, survived the latest strikes.

More than 10,000 people have been killed in ground battles and airstrikes since then, many of them civilians.

A week ago, Human Rights Watch called upon the carry out an investigation saying that the USA needs to "go a step further and provide a full accounting of possible laws-of-war violations".

The defense official said a large volume of information was collected, including phone numbers, contact information and data on AQAP members and how they are connected.

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