U.S. Carries Out First Airstrikes in Yemen in Nearly 3 Months

A U.S.. Military Drone MQ 9 is seen in an undated photo (Credit: Getty Images via CNN)

A U.S.. Military Drone MQ 9 is seen in an undated photo. (Credit: Getty Images via CNN)

The US military carried out a series of six airstrikes in Yemen last week targeting the local al Qaeda affiliate there.

They were the first US airstrikes in Yemen since January 1, when the US conducted two strikes, including one that killed Jamal al-Badawi, an al Qaeda operative linked to the 2000 attack on the USS Cole.

Last week’s airstrikes took place in Al Bayda Governate.

The US has sought to prevent al Qaeda from exploiting the chaos of Yemen’s civil war to establish a safe haven, but the number of US military strikes has declined sharply over the last few years.

“In coordination with the government of Yemen, US forces continue to support ongoing counterterrorism operations against AQAP and ISIS-Y to disrupt and destroy militants’ attack-plotting efforts, networks, and freedom of maneuver within the region,” Lt. Col. Earl Brown, a spokesman for US Central Command, said in a statement.

The US did not release details of any casualties from the recent strikes.

The US military carried out 131 airstrikes in Yemen in 2017 and conducted 36 strikes in 2018, nearly all of them targeting al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.

The CIA also carried out at least one strike in Yemen and US officials told CNN in August last year that a 2017 CIA drone strike killed Ibrahim al-Asiri, a senior al Qaeda bomb-maker behind the “underwear bomb” attempt to detonate on a flight above the skies of Detroit on Christmas Day in 2009.

The US efforts to combat al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula are separate from US efforts to support the Saudi-led coalition fighting in the Yemen civil war.

The US House of Representatives is expected to vote this week on a Senate resolution that would curtail US support to the Saudi-led coalition which is battling the Iranian-backed Houthis.

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