American broadcasting network NBC was the first to report news from a senior US military official that in the first airstrike and military raid carried out under President Donald Trump, two Americans were killed in Southern Yemen on Sunday. One was a member of SEAL Team 6 a U.S. Navy component of Joint Special Operations Command, sometimes referred to as a Special Mission Unit. The raid, conducted by JSOC, was intended to capture valuable intelligence, specifically computer equipment – but local accounts describe US personnel running amok, reporting a body count of 59 combatants and civilians, including women and children.
The mission involved Trump’s preferred option of “boots on the ground” but “Almost everything went wrong,” the official said. They experienced a hard landing near the site, injuring several SEALs, one severely. The tilt-rotor aircraft had to be destroyed. A SEAL was killed during the firefight on the ground and some Yemeni civilians.
The aircraft involved was the much-vaunted MV-22 Osprey which – a search reveals – has a really disturbing record of crashes, mishaps and accidents. In December Reuters recorded that the US military had grounded its fleet of Osprey aircraft in Japan after one crash-landed in the sea near Okinawa, in an incident that fuelled further local anger over the US deployment on the island. TV footage showed the main wings of the transport aircraft broken in two and the half-submerged fuselage drifting in the sea.
Among the non-combatants killed in the raid, including several Yemeni women and children, was the 8-year-old daughter of Anwar al-Awlaki, the New Mexico-born American graduate and al Qaeda leader who was killed in a U.S. drone strike five years ago.
Her grandfather, Nasser al-Awlaki, Yemen’s former agriculture minister, told NBC News that the girl and her mother had fled the Yemeni capital, Sana’a, where he lives, to escape the heavy shelling and continued:
“My granddaughter was staying for a while with her mother, so when the attack came, they were sitting in the house, and a bullet struck her in her neck at 2:30 past midnight. Other children in the same house were killed.
“They [the SEALs] entered another house and killed everybody in it, including all the women. They burned the house. There is an assumption there was a woman [in the house] from Saudi Arabia who was with al Qaeda. All we know is that she was a children’s teacher”.
Will this chaos and bloodshed cause Trump to rethink ? if only . . .
(UPDATE: varying accounts of the diplomatic reaction are being published. The following sounds the most feasible: “White House spokesman Sean Spicer would not say whether Yemen’s government had requested a ban, but he said the Trump administration is “working through diplomatic channels” with Yemen – read more here: http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2017/02/08/reports-yemen-says-must-approve-us-ground-raids/97634368/.)