The Pentagon has reported that a US service member was killed and three were wounded in a raid on an al-Qaeda headquarters in Yemen.
The US military reported that the raid claimed 14 members of the militant group al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. The raid also provided information that will give insight into the planning of future terror plots.
The intense gun battle which took place in the rural Yakla district of Bayda province killed a senior leader in Yemen’s al-Qaeda branch, Abdulraoof al-Dhahab, along with other militants. The military also reported that the fourth service member was injured during a hard landing in a nearby location. The helicopter was unable to fly afterwards and as a result, it was intentionally destroyed.
General Joseph Votel, Commander of the US Central Command made a statement in which he reported that the US military is saddened by the loss of one of the elite service members, adding that the sacrifices are very profound in the fight against terrorists who threaten innocent peoples across the world.
The operation was the first counterterrorism under President Donald Trump, it was also the first incident of a US Service member to be killed in action under the new administration.
In a report issued by tribal officials and the Yemeni security, the assault in central Bayda province killed three senior al-Qaeda leaders. The Associated Press reported that the surprise dawn attack killed Abdul-Raouf al-Dhahab, Sultan al-Dhahab, and Seif al-Nims.
There has been reports indicating that the al-Dhahab family is an ally of al-Qaeda, security forces say that it’s concentrated in Bayda province. The Tarek al-Dhahab family was also killed in a US drone strike years ago, however, it was not yet clear whether the family members were actual members of al-Qaeda.
Three other alleged al-Qaeda operatives were allegedly killed by suspected US drone strikes in Bayda province in what was the first-such killings reported in the country since Donald Trump assumed Presidency. However, the tribal officials reported that Americans were looking for al-Qaeda leader Qassim al-Rimi, adding that they captured and departed with at least two unidentified individuals.
Washington has long seen the Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula as among the most dangerous branches of the global terror network. The terror group has exploited the chaos of Yemen’s civil war by seizing territory in the south and east.