List of drone strikes in Yemen This article needs to be updated
. Please update this article to reflect recent events or newly available information. (November 2019)
The US first said that it used targeted killing in November 2002, with the cooperation and approval of the Yemeni government.
On November 5, 2002, Al-Qaeda
operatives in a car traveling through Yemen
were killed in a targeted killing
by a missile launched from a CIA-controlled Predator drone
In 2004, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC-TV) international-affairs program Foreign Correspondent
investigated the targeted killing
and the involvement of the US ambassador as part of a report entitled "The Yemen Option". The report examined evolving tactics and countermeasures in dealing with al-Qaeda-inspired attacks.
According to The Times
, in 2010 the United States, in cooperation with Yemeni officials, launched four cruise missiles at suspected terrorist targets in Yemen. According to the Times
, Yemen asked the United States to suspend the strikes after one of the missiles killed a pro-Yemeni tribal leader, Sheikh Jaber al-Shabwani, the deputy governor of Marib province, resulting in his tribe turning against the Yemeni government. The Times
also stated that U.S. special forces troops were on the ground in Yemen helping to hunt al-Qaeda operatives.
An estimated 98 US drone attacks were conducted in Yemen from 2002 to 2015: 41 in 2012, 26 in 2013 and 14 in 2014.
In May 2010 an errant US drone attack targeting al-Qaeda terrorists in Wadi Abida
, Yemen, killed five people, among them Jaber al-Shabwani, deputy governor of Ma'rib Governorate
who was mediating between the government and the militants. The killing so angered Shabwani's tribesmen that in the subsequent weeks they fought heavily with government security forces, twice attacking a major oil pipeline in Marib
On May 5, 2011, a missile fired from a US drone killed Abdullah and Mosaad Mubarak, brothers who may have been al-Qaeda militants. The missile struck their car, and both died instantly.
The strike intended to kill al-Qaeda propagandist Anwar al-Awlaki
, but he was not hit in the strike.
On June 3, 2011 American manned jets (or drones) attacked and killed Ali Abdullah Naji al-Harithi, a midlevel al-Qaeda operative, and several other militant suspects, including Ammar Abadah Nasser al-Wa'eli
, in a strike in southern Yemen.
Four civilians were also reportedly killed in the strike, reportedly coordinated by American special forces and CIA operatives based in Sanaa
According to the Associated Press
, in 2011 the US government began building an airbase near or in Yemen from which the CIA and US military plans to operate drones over Yemen.
This base is located at Umm Al Melh
, just north of Yemen inside Saudi Arabia. The Washington Post
reported that the US previously used a base in Djibouti
to fly drones over Yemen,
while The Wall Street Journal
reported that a US drone base in the Seychelles
could be used to fly drones over Yemen.
According to local residents and unnamed American and Yemeni government officials, on July 14, 2011 US manned aircraft (or drones) attacked and destroyed a police station in Mudiya, Abyan Governorate
which had been occupied by al-Qaeda militants. Yemeni media and government gave conflicting accounts on the number of casualties, estimated at between 6 and 50 killed. The same day and nearby, drone missiles reportedly hit a car belonging to Yemeni al-Qaeda leader Fahd al-Quso
, but al-Quso survived the attack.
On August 1, 2011, US drones and reportedly Yemeni aircraft attacked three targets with bombs and missiles in South Yemen, killing 15 suspected al-Qaeda militants and wounding 17 others. The locations targeted included al-Wahdah, al-Amodiah, and al-Khamilah in Abyan Governorate. One of those killed was reportedly militant leader Naser al-Shadadi. According to the Yemen Post
"At least 35 US drone attacks were reported in Yemen over the last two month."
On August 24, 2011, unidentified aircraft attacked suspected al-Qaeda militants near Zinjibar
. The strikes reportedly killed 30 militants and wounded 40 others.
According to Yemeni officials as reported in the Long War Journal
, US airstrikes in southeast Abyan Governorate on August 30 to September 1, 2011 killed 30 AQAP militants. The militants were reportedly engaged in combat with Yemeni military forces.
Two airstrikes by US-operated aircraft on September 21, 2011 reportedly killed four AQAP fighters in Abyan and seven AQAP fighters in Shaqra.
On September 30, 2011, US drone-launched missiles killed four people, including al-Qaeda propagandist Anwar al-Awlaki
, in Al Jawf Governorate
. The strike also killed Samir Khan
, American-born editor of Inspire
magazine. The strike marked the first known time that the US had deliberately targeted US citizens in a drone attack.
A reported drone strike on militant hide-outs east of Zinjibar, capital of Abyan Governorate, on October 5, 2011 killed five AQAP militants.
According to Yemeni government officials, a US airstrike on October 14, 2011 killed seven AQAP militants, including Egyptian-born Ibrahim al-Bana, AQAP's media chief.
On October 14, 2011, a similar drone strike killed al-Awlaki's 17-year-old son, Abdelrahman al-Awlaki and eight others.
A drone strike on December 22, 2011 near Zinjibar reportedly killed Abdulrahman al-Wuhayshi, a relative of Yemeni al-Qaeda leader Nasir al-Wuhayshi
. A further eight militants were reported killed in an air strike near Jaʿār
, Abyan Governorate, on December 17, 2011.
An airstrike, reportedly performed by US aircraft, on January 31, 2012 near the city of Lawdar
in Abyan province, killed 11 AQAP militants. The dead reportedly included Abdul Monem al-Fahtani, a participant in the USS Cole bombing
The Long War Journal
reported that in 2012, the US carried out its first drone strikes against AQAP in Hadramout Governorte in May 2012, from mid-May until the end of the year, the US launched seven attacks in the Governorate- a total of 41 drone strikes that took place in Yemen in 2012.
Drones engaged in three attacks over three days from March 9–11, 2012. The first strike targeted an AQAP hideout near Al Baydah, Baydah province, reportedly killing local AQAP leader Abdulwahhab al-Homaiqani and 16 of his militants. The second strike hit Jaʿār in Abyan province, reportedly killing 20 AQAP fighters. The third strike, also in Jaʿār, reportedly killed three AQAP militants and targeted a storage location for weapons AQAP had seized after overrunning a Yemeni military base in Al Koud the week before.
A fourth drone strike on March 14, 2012 in Al Bydah reportedly killed four AQAP militants in a vehicle.
On April 11, 14 militants were killed in a drone strike in Lawdar town, northeast of Zinjibar, Abyan province.
A drone strike on April 22, in the Al Samadah area, near the border of Marib and Al Jawf provinces, killed AQAP senior leader Mohammed Saeed al Umda (also known as Ghareeb al Taizi).
On May 6, 2012 a suspected US drone strike killed Fahd Mohammed Ahmed al-Quso and another al-Qaeda militant in southern Shabwah Governorate
In 2013, 6 of the 26 strikes in Yemen, were carried out in Hadramout Governorate.
In late July, US officials uncovered an al-Qaeda plot (emanating from Yemen) which led the US to close down more than 20 embassies and diplomatic facilities across Africa, the Middle East, and Asia. In response between July 27 and August 10, the US launched 9 strikes in Yemen; no drone strikes were reported for seven weeks prior to July 27; the strikes were intended to disrupt the plot and take out AQAP’s top leadership cadre and senior operatives.
On December 12, 15 people
were killed in a wedding convoy in the District of Rada'
which falls in the Al Bayda' Governorate
The US drone mistakenly targeted a wedding convoy after intelligence reports identified the vehicles as carrying suspects of the AQAP
Five of the killed had been suspected, but the remainder were civilians.
Yemeni Civil War (2015-02-25) Territory held by AQAP (grey) included portions of many provinces in eastern Yemen.
On January 8, the Long War Journal
reported that 2 AQAP fighters were killed a US drone strike as they travelled by vehicle in the Al Qutn area of Hadramaut Governorate
, in the first recorded US drone strike in Yemen or Pakistan of the year.
On March 3, 2014 an airstrike, believed to have been carried out by a US drone, killed three people suspected of being members of AQAP. Mujahid Gaber Saleh al Shabwani, who is one of Yemen's 25 most wanted AQAP operatives, is thought to have been killed in the strike.
On April 20 and 21, 2014, three drone strikes by the US killed at least two dozen suspected AQAP members and destroyed one of the group's training camps in southern Yemen, according to a statement released by the Yemeni Interior Ministry. In a statement, the group admitted that five civilians had been wounded and three killed during the attack.
On June 13, 2014 a suspected US drone strike targeted a car in the Mafraq al-Saeed area of the Shabwah province, killing five alleged AQAP operatives on board.
After the closure of the US Embassy in Sana'a
, US counterterrorism officials said the CIA was forced to scale back its operations in Yemen. Of the approximately 200 Americans based at the embassy, "dozens" were working for the CIA.
Yemeni Civil War (current)
Territory held by AQAP (white)
extends westward primarily through Hadramaut
, and Lahij
The US confirmed 32 drone strikes in Yemen during 2016, resulting in 88 to 123 deaths; a further 10 or 11 reported strikes were not confirmed by the military; these resulted in 23 deaths.
On March 27, a US drone strike killed 8 AQAP fighters in the southern Abyan
Governorate, inside the group's territory.
On October 21, the US said it killed five AQAP fighters in an airstrike in Marib Governorate.
On January 21, two US drone strikes killed field commander Abu Anis al-Abi and two other al-Qaeda operatives in Bayda province, security and tribal officials said.
On March 4, US armed drones and warplanes conducted more than 30 airstrikes against suspected al-Qaeda positions in three Yemeni provinces.
On October 2, 2017, U.S. Central Command
stated that a MQ-9 Reaper
had been shot down in western Yemen the previous day. Local videos of the event suggested it had been shot down by a surface-to-air missile.
A U.S. airstrike on 25 January, in Al Abdiyah District
, Ma'rib Governorate
, led to killing an individual, whose identity is unknown. Another airstrike was on 27 January, which killed Abdullah Al-Adani. On January 29, 2020, the emir of AQAP, Qasim al-Raymi
, was killed by an airstrike while traveling in a car with another senior AQAP leader, Abu Al-Baraa Al-Ibby, in the Yakla area of Wald Rabi' District
, Al Bayda Governorate
Newamerica.net estimates that a total of 127 US drone attacks have been conducted in Yemen from 2002-2016; 1 in 2002, 1 in 2010, 9 in 2011, 47 in 2012, 24 in 2013, 17 in 2014, 24 in 2015, and 4 in 2016. Additionally, 15 manned airstrikes have been conducted, though manned aircraft have only been used once since 2012. The Long War Journal
gives a much higher figure of 334 from 2009–2018.
U.S. drone strike statistics estimate:
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- ^ @CENTCOM (January 6, 2019). "U.S. CENTCOM has confirmed that Jamal al-Badawi was killed in a precision strike in Marib governate, Jan. 1. Jamal al-Badawi was an al Qaeda operative involved in the USS Cole bombing. U.S. forces confirmed the results of the strike following a deliberate assessment process" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
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Last edited on 4 November 2020, at 20:09
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