In the first reported raid since Trump assumed the presidency, US forces killed several al-Qaeda terrorists in Yemen.
US forces launched a raid in central Yemen on Sunday, security and tribal officials said, landing troops off of aircraft and killing three alleged senior al-Qaeda leaders in a battle that was the third such US ground engagement against the Islamic terror group in Yemen.
The surprise dawn attack in Bayda province killed Abdul-Raouf al-Dhahab, Sultan al-Dhahab and Seif al-Nims, the report said. The al-Dhahab family is considered an ally of al-Qaeda, which security forces say is concentrated in Bayda province. A third family member, Tarek al-Dhahab, was killed in a previous US drone strike years ago.
It was not immediately clear whether the family members were actual members of al-Qaeda.
The US troops killed or wounded some two dozen men, including some Saudis present at the site, according to the Yemeni officials — who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to brief journalists.
An official with al-Qaeda confirmed the killings, describing the attack as a “massacre” and claiming that women and children had been killed as well, although providing no evidence.
He said Apache attack helicopters struck the area from the air before dropping commandos in for the raid, which took place near Yakla village in Radaa district. He spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals.
The US Army later announced that a service member has been killed and three others wounded during the raid.
US Central Command said in a statement Sunday that another service member was injured in a “hard landing” in a nearby location.
It says the aircraft was unable to fly afterward and “was then intentionally destroyed in place.”
Fourteen fighters from al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula were killed in the assault and that US service members captured “information that will likely provide insight into the planning of future terror plots,” the statement continued.
Just over a week ago, suspected US drone strikes killed three other alleged al-Qaeda operatives in Bayda province in what was the first-such killings reported in the country since Donald Trump assumed the US presidency.
The tribal officials said the Americans were looking for al-Qaeda leader Qassim al-Rimi, adding that they captured and departed with at least two unidentified individuals.
Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), long seen by Washington as among the most dangerous branches of the global Islamic terror network, has exploited the chaos of Yemen’s civil war, seizing territory in the south and east.