Hawaii Intelligence Digest, 30 January 2017, 02:15 hrs, UTC, Post #97.
Reporter: Frank Gardner (BBC Security Correspondent).
Accessed on 30 January 2017, 02:15 hrs, UTC.
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One of President Obama’s last official acts before Donald Trump entered the White House was to authorize a commando raid against an al-Qaeda stronghold in Yemen’s al-Baida province. According to U.S. military officials the raid killed 14 militants and 16 civilians. Among the casualties was one U.S. soldier and three wounded commandos. Apache air assault helicopters and drones were reportedly part of the combined air and ground operation in central Yemen. This splinter al-Qaeda group was known for its bomb-making expertise, having downed at least three aircraft over the past year. The leader of the al-Qaeda group in Central Yemen was among those killed in the raid. Eyewitnesses to the commando raid said the ground and air attack destroyed a mosque, school, and a hospital.
Here is the analysis from BBC Security Correspondent Frank Gardner:
“The pre-dawn raid by US Special Operations commandos in Yemen was planned while Barack Obama was still president. But it was President Donald Trump who authorised it, launching a rare operation that put US boots briefly on the ground in a part of Yemen largely controlled by al-Qaeda and its tribal allies.
Yemen, the poorest country in the Arab world, has been gripped by a seemingly intractable civil war for more than two years.
It is also home to a branch of al-Qaeda considered to be one of the most dangerous in the world. The group, thought to number only a few hundred Saudi and Yemeni militants, includes a number of expert bomb-makers who have succeeded in smuggling explosives on board planes three times.
“The US has carried out frequent missile strikes on al-Qaeda’s bases in Yemen using unmanned drones.”
This combined air and “boots on the ground” raid could signal a significant shift in the battle against jihadist militants in Yemen, a country that has been racked by civil strife for many years.
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Hawaii Intelligence Digest