U.S. forces engaged in more than 20 air strikes Thursday against al-Qaida targets in Yemen, roughly four weeks after a U.S. Navy SEAL was killed in a raid in the country.
The Pentagon confirmed the strikes in a statement Thursday, noting U.S. forces targeted members of al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), their equipment and infrastructure in the Yemeni governorates of Abyan, al-Bayda and Shabwah.
“AQAP has taken advantage of ungoverned spaces in Yemen to plot, direct, and inspire terror attacks against the United States and our allies,” said the statement. “U.S. forces will continue to work with the Government of Yemen to defeat AQAP and deny it the ability to operate in Yemen.”
U.S. Navy SEALs recently raided an AQAP cell in Yemen, which led to the death of Chief Special Warfare Operator William “Ryan” Owens and several civilians. Three additional SEALs were injured when a Marine Corps MV-22 made a “hard landing” near the mission staging area.
Some in the media called the mission a failure, however, the Pentagon and White House insisted that it was crucial to gathering intelligence on potential threats to the U.S.
The Pentagon was unable to confirm the strikes were the first since the raid, as they do not provide regular strike updates in Yemen.
Pentagon spokesman Christopher Sherwood told The Daily Caller News Foundation that the U.S. will continue operations against AQAP until it is defeated.
“The U.S. will not relent in its mission to degrade, disrupt and destroy al-Qa’ida and its remnants,” said Sherwood. “The U.S. remains committed to defeating AQAP and denying it safe haven. Strikes conducted by the U.S. in Yemen continue to diminish AQAP’s presence in the region.”
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