The US military conducted a counterterrorism strike against al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, or AQAP, May 19 in the Shabwah Governorate in central Yemen that killed four al-Qaida operatives, U.S. Central Command officials announced Friday in a news release.
This is the ninth counterterrorism strike conducted by the U.S. military against AQAP in Yemen in 2016, the release said. The Defense Department previously announced a strike conducted March 22 against an AQAP training camp in Yemen that is assessed to have killed 56 AQAP operatives.
On May 6, Centcom also announced four strikes conducted between April 23-28 against AQAP, which killed 10 al-Qaida operatives and injured one. In addition, Centcom officials today confirmed three additional and previously unannounced counterterrorism strikes against AQAP in Yemen:
- A strike Feb. 3 that killed six al-Qaida operatives in Shabwah Governorate in central Yemen;
- A strike Feb. 29 that killed three al-Qaida operatives in Hadramawt Governorate in east Yemen; and
- A strike March 30 that killed two al-Qaida operatives in the vicinity of Azzan in central Yemen
AQAP remains a significant threat to the region, the United States and beyond, the release said.
“Al-Qaida’s presence has a destabilizing effect on Yemen, and it is using the unrest in Yemen to provide a haven from which to plan future attacks against our allies as well as the U.S. and its interests,” the release said.
“The U.S. will not relent in its mission to degrade, disrupt and destroy al-Qaida and its remnants,” the release continued. “We remain committed to defeating AQAP and denying it safe haven regardless of its location. Strikes conducted by the U.S. in Yemen continue to diminish AQAP’s presence in the region.”