The United States conducted 131 counterterrorism strikes in Yemen, CENTCOM told FDD’s Long War Journal.
US forces conducted a record 120 strikes in Yemen in 2017 and appears to be operating at a similar tempo thus far in 2018.
The State Department has added Khalid Batarfi, an al Qaeda veteran and senior al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) leader, to the US government’s list of specially designated global terrorists. Batarfi threatened the US and Jews in a video released by AQAP just yesterday.
CENTCOM identified the AQAP operatives who were killed as “key Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula leaders.” Their responsibilities included “external operations facilitator,” an operative who paves the way for attacks outside of Yemen, an arms facilitator, and a member of its proselytizing council.
Backed by Saudi air power, Yemeni forces are advancing on a number of critical fronts including Yemen’s northern border and western coast.
One of the leaders “planned” the March 2015 Bardo Museum attack in Tunis, which was claimed by the Islamic State. Another serves as Shabaab’s deputy emir.
The pattern of operations in 2017 in what the Obama administration used to call areas outside of active hostilities indicates that the US will continue the reinvigorated air campaign in Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, and Libya in the coming year.
The Houthis claim the missile used was a Burkan-2H, which recent evidence suggests is Iranian-supplied.