It comes as American counter-terrorism involvement in the country continues to increase
Eighteen US air strikes against Al Qaeda and ISIL in Yemen since December
US forces have conducted 18 air strikes against Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and ISIL in Yemen since the start of December, as US counter-terrorism involvement in the country continues to increase.
United States Central Command (CENTCOM) reported that an airstrike carried out on December 15 killed AQAP’s external operations facilitator Middad Al Sana’ani. Four days later on December 19, another prominent operator Habib Al Sana’ani was killed. He was described as an intermediary with ties to senior AQAP leadership and was also responsible for facilitating the transfer of weapons, explosives and money into Yemen.
CENTCOM spokesperson Lt. Col. Earl Brown said: “Every strike advances the defeat of violent extremist organisations, and protects the United States and partner nations from attack at home and abroad."
In October 2016 the US also conducted a series of cruise missile strikes against Houthi targets in retaliation for two separate missile attacks aimed at American warships.
Last week, UAE forces carried out their own air strikes on Houthi targets in Hudayah Governorate.
A CENTCOM statement added that the strikes “degrade these groups’ ability to hold territory and coordinate external attacks”.
In 2017, the US carried out a sixfold increase in air strikes in 2017. In total it consisted of 131 airstrikes from both manned and unmanned aircraft, up from just 21 in 2016.