The Pentagon confirmed Thursday that civilians, who may have been used as shields, were likely killed during a U.S. raid on an al-Qaida compound in Yemen.
Aerial gunfire called in to support U.S. forces during the Sunday raid appears to have struck and killed civilians. U.S. forces reportedly took fire “from all sides,” according to a Pentagon statement. The Pentagon also said some women appeared to be “combatants” fighting for Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). Analysts are also busy determining whether the terrorists used women and children as human shields.
“[AQAP] has a horrifying history of hiding women and children within militant operating areas and terrorist camps, and continuously shows a callous disregard for innocent lives,” said Col. John J. Thomas, U.S. Central Command spokesman. “That’s what makes cases like these so especially tragic.”
The raid was President Donald Trump’s first major military operation as president, and resulted in the death of Navy Seal Team Chief William “Ryan” Owens and the wounding of three other U.S. military personnel.
Nawar al-Awlaki, the 8-year-old daughter of infamous terrorist preacher Anwar al-Awlaki, is believed to be one of the civilians killed in the attack. Her father, an American citizen, was killed in an air strike in Yemen on Sept. 30, 2011, after former President Barack Obama signed off on a controversial drone strike. Al-Awlaki was one of the most infamous radical Islamic hate preachers, and his videos are still watched by jihadis to this day. It is unclear why his daughter was in the terrorist compound at the time of the U.S. assault.
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