Pictures have surfaced of an eight-year-old US citizen who was reportedly one of a large group civilians killed in Yemen during the first military operation authorised by US President Donald Trump this weekend.
A US team raided an alleged Al-Qaeda base in central Yemen on Sunday, which the Pentagon reported resulted in the deaths of 14 jihadis and one US commando. Three more commandos were injured.
The US did not confirm or deny reports from medics on the ground and in Yemeni media that up to 30 women and children were also killed in the raid.
Nawar Al-Awlaki, who went by Nora, was the daughter of infamous New Mexico-born al-Qaeda leader Anwar al-Awlaki, who was killed by a US drone strike in the country in 2011.
Her grandfather told local media she was hit in the neck by a bullet and bled out over two hours, telling her mother not to worry about her.
“Why kill children? This is the new [US] administration - it’s very sad, a big crime,” Nasser Al-Awlaki was reported as saying.
It was previously thought that the operation had already been approved by former President Barack Obama before he left office. However, a military official speaking on background told NBC News on Monday that the raid was planned and carried out by Mr Trump’s administration.
“Almost everything went wrong,” the official said. As well as the reported civilian casualties and the death of 36-year-old Navy Seal Owen Williams, the MV-22 Osprey which landed the troops apparently landed hard, injuring those on board, and later had to be destroyed.
The mission had originally been intended to capture intelligence and computer equipment, the official continued.
Since the introduction of Mr Trump’s so-called ‘Muslim ban’ travel restrictions for citizens of certain countries, Jihadist-friendly social media channels have suggested that the prediction of Anwar al-Awlaki - Nawar’s father - that “the West would eventually turn against its Muslim citizens” was coming true.
The death of his young daughter could be fuel to the extremist anti-Western narrative, observers say.
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