US forces carried out “multiple ground operations” in Yemen in 2017, the Pentagon has disclosed revealing the real lelve of the US military involvement in the ongoing war.
“U.S. forces have conducted multiple ground operations and more than 120 strikes in 2017 to remove key leaders and disrupt the ability of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and ISIS-Yemen to use ungoverned spaces in Yemen as a hub for terrorist recruiting, training, and base of operations to export terror worldwide,” US Central Command said in a statement.
The 120 airstrikes mark a 3-fold increase compared to the number of airstrikes from 2016.
“In November, the U.S. conducted 10 strikes across Yemen governorates al-Bayda, and Marib including a strike on Mujahid al-Adani, AQAP [Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula] Shabwah leader, who was killed Nov. 20 in al-Bayda Governorate, Yemen. Al-Adani, also known as Mohammad Shukri, was a senior leader responsible for planning and conducting terrorist attacks against Yemeni, Coalition and tribal security forces. He exerted significant influence within AQAP’s terrorist attack networks, similarly, maintained close ties and access to the group’s other senior leaders, and previously served as an AQAP military leader in Aden.
Al-Bayda AQAP facilitator Abu Layth al-Sanaani and three AQAP associates were also killed in the Nov. 20 strike.
Ruwahah al-Sanaani, also an AQAP facilitator, was killed Nov. 2 in Marib Governorate.
In October, a strike Oct. 19 killed Ubaydah al-Lawdari, the Emir of Lawdar, and four associates in al-Bayda Governorate. Al-Lawdari had been known to provide equipment and money in support of AQAP attacks against Coalition forces, posing an increased threat to U.S. interests.
Meanwhile, a series of strikes against two ISIS terror training camps in al-Bayda Oct. 16 killed more than 50 ISIS-Y combatants, disrupting the organization’s attempts to recruit and train new fighters.
Ongoing operations pressuring the network have also degraded AQAP’s propaganda production, reducing one of the methods for the terror group to recruit and inspire lone wolf attacks across the globe. The al-Masra Newsletter, previously published three times a month, has not been published since July.
Al-Malahim Establishment for Media Production, which produces AQAP’s terrorist-inspiring video series, as well as Inspire Magazine, saw a large drop in October. Unable to produce video series and graphic terror-inspiring magazines, AQAP has resorted to using low-tech audio messages.”
Before the statement, there had been few official reports providing details of the US military involvement in Yemen. The Pentagon avoids releasing regular updates on ground or air operations in the war-torn country.