The US raid in Yemen targeting members of Al Qaeda has inflicted civilian casualties as well, including children and a US commando.There has also been reports an American girl may have been killed.
Acting tough with the US military has it’s risks.
Civilians were “likely” killed in a US commando raid in Yemen over the weekend and children may have been among the dead, the US military’s Central Command (CENTCOM) said.
“A team designated by the operational task force commander has concluded regrettably that civilian non-combatants were likely killed in the midst of a firefight during a raid in Yemen January 29. Casualties may include children,” CENTCOM said in a statement late on Wednesday.
Yemeni officials had previously said 16 civilians – eight women and eight children – were killed in the raid in the southern province of al-Bayda, but CENTCOM did not provide any numbers.
The civilian deaths appear to have occurred when US aircraft were called to help the commandos as they conducted the dawn raid that US officials said killed 14 members of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP).
“The known possible civilian casualties appear to have been potentially caught up in aerial gunfire that was called in to assist US forces in contact against a determined enemy that included armed women firing from prepared fighting positions, and US special operations members receiving fire from all sides to include houses and other buildings,” the statement added.
Officials were conducting an ongoing “credibility assessment” to see if there may have been additional civilian casualties in the intense firefight, it said.
Since the January 29 raid, Washington has faced questions as to whether an eight-year-old American girl was killed during the firefight.
New York Times: Raid in Yemen: Risky From the Start and Costly in the End
Just five days after taking office, over dinner with his newly installed secretary of defense and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, President Trump was presented with the first of what will be many life-or-death decisions: whether to approve a commando raid that risked the lives of American Special Operations forces and foreign civilians alike.
President Barack Obama’s national security aides had reviewed the plans for a risky attack on a small, heavily guarded brick home of a senior Qaeda collaborator in a mountainous village in a remote part of central Yemen. But Mr. Obama did not act because the Pentagon wanted to launch the attack on a moonless night and the next one would come after his term had ended.
With two of his closest advisers, Jared Kushner and Stephen K. Bannon, joining the dinner at the White House along with Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr., Mr. Trump approved sending in the Navy’s SEAL Team 6, hoping the raid early last Sunday would scoop up cellphones and laptop computers that could yield valuable clues about one of the world’s most dangerous terrorist groups. Vice President Mike Pence and Michael T. Flynn, the national security adviser, also attended the dinner.
As it turned out, almost everything that could go wrong did. And on Wednesday, Mr. Trump flew to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware to be present as the body of the American commando killed in the raid was returned home, the first military death on the new commander in chief’s watch.
It may have been that Trump did little more than rubber stamp a planned incursion in this case, but “two of his closest advisers, Jared Kushner and Stephen K. Bannon” doesn’t give me a lot of confidence.
At least one US casualty plus significant embarrassment may not dent trump’s confidence he can sort eliminate Al Qaeda and ISIS, but it shows that it is not a simply thing to do, even on a small scale like this.