Donald Trump's first US military raid 'kills 30 civilians, including 10 women and children'

'Why kill children? This is the new [US] administration - it’s very sad, a big crime'

Gabriel Samuels
Monday 30 January 2017 14:57 GMT
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Many strikes were carried out by US military forces on Yemeni targets during Barack Obama's tenure (file photo)
Many strikes were carried out by US military forces on Yemeni targets during Barack Obama's tenure (file photo)

The eight-year-old daughter of a radical preacher was among a large group of civilians reportedly killed during a US dawn raid in Yemen, the first military operation overseen by Donald Trump.

Around 30 people, including 10 women and children, are thought to have been killed by American military personnel in the rural Yakla district of al-Bayda in the south of the country, according to medical staff.

Nora Al-Awlaki, the daughter of lecturer and al-Qaeda sympathiser Anwar al-Awlaki who was killed in an airstrike in 2011, was one of those who lost their lives, her grandfather Nasser said.

“Why kill children? This is the new [US] administration - it’s very sad, a big crime,” Nasser Al-Awlaki said. “[Nora] was hit with a bullet in her neck and suffered for two hours.” The Pentagon did not refer to any civilian casualties in its statement.

The US military meanwhile confirmed 14 al-Qaeda fighters had been killed in the raid, and a further two in a drone strike on central Yemen later in the day. An American commando was killed in retaliation, and three others injured.

"The operation began at dawn when a drone bombed the home of Abdulraoof al-Dhahab and then helicopters flew up and unloaded paratroopers at his house and killed everyone inside," said one anonymous resident, in an account of the incident corroborated by Yemeni security staff.

"Next, the gunmen opened fire at the U.S. soldiers who left the area, and the helicopters bombed the gunmen and a number of homes and led to a large number of casualties."

In a statement, Mr Trump said he was “saddened” to hear of the death of the US commando, who “was taken in our fight against the evil of radical Islamic terrorism”. Numerous raids on Yemeni targets were carried out throughout the tenure of his predecessor Barack Obama.

In mid-January, the United Nations' humanitarian aid official in Yemen said the civilian death toll in the nearly two-year conflict had reached 10,000.

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