Just a few days after the first drone attacks in Yemen under the Trump presidency took place, Trump authorized a commando attack on an Al Qaeda headquarters in the province of Al-Bayda
|The raid was aimed at gathering intelligence about Al-Qaeda in the Arab Peninsula (AQAP). A US military statement claimed that the raid found "information that will likely provide insight into the planning of future terror plots."A US military official said American forces did not seize any militants or take any prisoners from the site. However, they cl;aimed to have killed 14 AQAP members; including the senior leader Abdul Raouf al-Dhahab. One of the military aircraft was said to have experienced a hard landing and was said to have been intentionally destroyed where it landed. Possibly this description is meant to avoid any suggestion that it could have been shot down.|
"The operation began at dawn when a drone bombed the home of Abdulraoof al-Dhahab and then helicopters flew up and unloaded paratroopers at his house and killed everyone inside. Next, the gunmen opened fire at the US soldiers who left the area, and the helicopters bombed the gunmen and a number of homes and led to a large number of casualties."A Yemeni security officer and a local corroborated that account. A local resident Fahd said several bodies remained under debris and houses and the local mosque were damaged in the attack. In a message AQAP mourned the death of al-Dhahab and that of other fighters, confirming his death but the message did not say how many Al-Qaeda militants were killed.
Since 2002, US drone strikes in Yemen have claimed the lives of up to 860 people, according to the British Bureau of Investigative Journalism. Most of the strikes were carried out under President Obama. It could not be verified how many of those killed were in fact Al-Qaeda militants.Even then, critics also argued that the attacks could boost support for AQAP: Yahya Qasseb bin Sahl, a law professor at Aden University, told Reuters that he believes the drone strikes “channel the Yemeni street’s feelings in favor of Al-Qaeda.”