According to local Yemen officials and residents, helicopter-borne commandos launched an attack killing Al – Qaida suspects and civilians. Around thirty people were killed.
The battle took place in the Yakla district of Bayda province and it has been claimed that Abdulroof al-Dhahab, head of Yemen’s al – Qaida branch together with militants were killed. Medics claim ten women and three children were killed in the attack.
Residents and officials have all claimed it was American commandos that carried out the attack, but the U.S has so far not responded.
First Attack under Donald Trump’s Presidency?
If it is confirmed that the U.S did carry out the attack it will be the first raid of its kind in Yemen since the country’s civil war began two years ago. It would also be the first operation of its kind under the presidency of Donald Trump.
The deaths of the al – Qaida leadership were confirmed on the Telegram account who stated Dhahab and the other warriors had been killed.
One local resident according to The Guardian newspaper who did not want to be named said, “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.”
Yemeni security officials corroborated with the account of the local resident. They also said that several bodies were buried under destroyed homes and the local mosque.
Across Yemen, fierce fighting has broken out between government forces and Shia rebels. In 2014 Houthi rebels and their allies approached from the north and captured the capital, Sana’a. Since then government forces assisted by Saudi Arabia have been fighting a bitter war.