US ground & air raid kills 7 Al-Qaeda militants in Yemen

Source: US ground & air raid kills 7 Al-Qaeda militants in Yemen — RT News

Seven Al-Qaeda militants have been killed during a US counterterrorism operation in Yemen, according to US Central Command. The operation used small arms fire and precision airstrikes to target one of the group’s compounds.

The operation took place in the early hours of Tuesday against a compound associated with Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) in Marib Governorate, according to a statement by US Central Command.

The statement says that seven AQAP militants were killed “through a combination of small arms fire and precision airstrikes.”

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FILE PHOTO Members of the U.S. Army Special Forces provide training for Iraqi fighters from Hashid Shaabi at Makhmur camp in Iraq © Mohammed Salem / Reuters

“Raids such as this provide insight into AQAP’s disposition, capabilities and intentions, which will allow us to continue to pursue, disrupt, and degrade AQAP,” the statement reads.

It goes on to note that the operation was conducted with the support of the Royal Government of Yemen.

According to Yemeni officials cited by AP, the operation took place in the al-Sirim area of Marib Governorate. Tribal members said explosions were heard in the neighborhood, followed by helicopters and gunfire.

The helicopters reportedly landed in the outskirts of the town of Jouba, near al-Sirim, which is a known Al-Qaeda hideout. The town has been targeted by a series of airstrikes over the past month, with six militants reportedly killed.

Officials and tribesmen also told AP that there was a separate bombing in nearby Bayda province, but did not elaborate on details or possible casualties.

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© U.S. Air Force / Bobbi Zapka

The Tuesday morning operation is the second known US ground deployment in Yemen against Al-Qaeda militants this year. A raid in January which killed 25 civilians, including women and children, sparked outrage in the country.

The US military said 14 Al-Qaeda militants were killed in the attack, and that Washington gained “information that will likely provide insight into the planning of future terror plots.”

However, defense officials told NBC News in February that the deadly raid had yielded no significant intelligence.

In addition, it emerged that a video posted on the Pentagon’s website which claimed to show “important intelligence” footage obtained during the raid had been available online for a decade. The Pentagon later removed the video from its site.

The Tuesday raid comes as the US steps up its airstrikes in Yemen, launching more than 75 since the beginning of the year.

Al-Qaeda has been taking advantage of Yemen’s civil war following the Saudi-led campaign, in order to grow and expand its controlled territory.

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