US Servicemember Killed In Yemen Raid: First Combat Death Under Trump Administration
One U.S. servicemember was killed and three were wounded in a raid against al-Qaeda militants in Yemen, the Pentagon said Sunday. It was first combat death under the administration of President Trump and, if Trump’s executive order on expanding the US military deployment in the middle east and partitioning Syria into safe zones is followed, many more are sure to follow.
The name of the servicemember killed in action is being withheld pending next of kin notification, the statement said.
According to the WSJ, the Saturday raid resulted in the deaths of 14 militant members of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, or AQAP, the principal al Qaeda franchise in Yemen, defense officials said. It also led to the capture of critical intelligence, according to U.S. Central Command, which oversees U.S. military operations in the Middle East.
Reuters added that the special forces raid was authorized by President Donald Trump and was aimed at gathering intelligence about the militant group, a U.S. military official said on Sunday. The official said American elite forces did not seize any militants or take any prisoners off-site after Saturday’s raid, which the Pentagon said killed 14 members of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. U.S. forces carrying out the raid came under fire.
AQAP is considered one of the most deadly branches of the terror organization. The terror group has been able to get a stronger foothold in Yemen after the country descended into civil war three years ago. The U.S. has launched drone strikes against al-Qaeda militants in Yemen and has at times deployed Special Operations forces in the country in an effort to combat the militants. The U.S. military has also launched occasional ground raids in other countries, such as Libya, where al-Qaeda or militant groups have a presence.
This appeared to be the first such counter-terror ground raid conducted the Trump administration, which has pledged to take a hardline to defeat radical Islamic groups.
Another unexpected complication was that according to a Central Command statement, a U.S. military aircraft involved in the raid experienced a “hard landing” and had to be destroyed to avoid having it fall into enemy hands. The incident resulted in additional injuries.
“This is one in a series of aggressive moves against terrorist planners in Yemen and worldwide,” the statement said. “Similar operations have produced intelligence on al-Qaeda logistics, recruiting and financing efforts.”
“We are deeply saddened by the loss of one of our elite servicemembers,” Gen. Joseph Votel, the commander of Central Command, said in a statement. “The sacrifices are very profound in our fight against terrorists who threaten innocent peoples across the globe.”