A U.S. serviceman was killed by Al-Qaeda militants over the weekend in a raid on Yemen, the military said Sunday. The serviceman was the first casualty since President Donald Trump assumed office on January 20.
According to The Washington Post, three other members of the U.S. military were wounded in the raid, while 14 militants were killed:
In a statement, U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM), which oversees operations in the Middle East, said that a U.S. aircraft went down in a “hard landing” near the area where the operation took place, and was intentionally destroyed.
U.S. Special Operations forces have maintained a small presence in Yemen focused on an active and what they consider a very dangerous faction of al-Qaeda known as al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, the Post noted.
Politico reports that al-Qaeda has confirmed the killings and described the attack as a "massacre." The AQ official said that women and children were also killed, although he gave no supporting evidence for that claim. He also said an Apache helicopter conducted an air strike before dropping commandos into Yakla village in the Radaa district:
Just over a week ago, suspected U.S. drone strikes killed three other alleged al-Qaida operatives in Bayda province in what was the first-such killings reported in the country since Trump assumed the U.S. presidency.
The military raid was ostensibly a hunt for al-Qaida leader Qassim al-Rimi, according to Yemeni tribal officials.
The war in the region began in 2014, when Shiite Houthi rebels captured the capital city of Sanaa. A Saudi-led military coalition has been helping the Yemeni government battle back the rebels for almost two years.
Trump campaigned on an aggressive approach to defeating terror, and issued an executive order Saturday requiring the Pentagon to submit a plan for defeating the Islamic State in the next 30 days.