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U.S. Warships Target al-Qaeda Stronghold in Abyan | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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U.S. President Donald Trump and his daughter Ivanka walk out of the Oval Office at the White House in Washington on Feb. 1, 2017. Photographer: NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images

Virginia- An al-Qaeda stronghold in Yemen’s Abyan province was targeted on Thursday most likely by U.S. warships, four days after a U.S. operation against the organization in central Yemen, tribal sources said.

Six members of the Yemeni police were also killed in an al-Qaeda ambush in Abyan, security sources revealed.

A roadside bomb went off, targeting a convoy carrying 30 Yemeni security officers from Abyan to Aden, said a security source. “An exchange of gunfire with al-Qaeda fighters ensued, leaving six of our men killed and others injured,” a security source said.

Meanwhile, U.S. President Donald Trump made an unannounced trip to Dover Air Force Base on Wednesday to honor the returning remains of the United States Navy SEAL officer who was killed over the weekend in a raid in Yemen. It was the first U.S. fatality from such operation during the term of the new administration.

The president was joined by his daughter Ivanka to offer condolences to the family of Navy SEAL Team Chief Special Warfare Operator William Ryan Owens.

The U.S. Central Command said in a statement that an investigating team had “concluded regrettably that civilian non-combatants were likely killed” during the U.S. raid on an al-Qaeda compound in Baida province on Sunday.

The Central Command said its assessment “seeks to determine if there were any still-undetected civilian casualties in the raid.”

“It’s hard to ever call something a complete success, when you have the loss of life or people injured,” White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said.

U.S. military officials told Reuters that Trump approved his first covert counterterrorism operation without sufficient intelligence, ground support, or adequate backup preparations.

As a result, the attacking SEALs team found itself dropping onto a reinforced al-Qaeda base defended by landmines, snipers, and a larger than expected contingent of heavily armed extremists.

Officials added that former U.S. President Barack Obama rejected conducting the operation before leaving the White House.