US accepts responsibility for civilian deaths in Yemen raid

US Army Gen. Joseph Votel, testifies before the Senate Armed Services Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington March 9, 2017.

At least 12 civilians died in a raid against al-Qaeda in Yemen in late January, the head of the US military’s Central Command admitted on Thursday.

“We have made a determination based on our best information available that we did cause … between four and 12 casualties,” US Army General Joseph Votel told a Senate hearing, adding he accepted responsibility for shortcomings in the operation.

However, local officials in Yemen reported that during the raid, at least eight women and seven children – aged 3 to 13 – were killed. Among them was eight-year-old Nawar al-Awlaki, the daughter of a US-born Yemeni extremist preacher who was killed in a drone strike by the Obama administration.

Critics have questioned the value of the raid against al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, authorized by President Donald Trump.

The Pentagon said it is carrying out an investigation into the details surrounding the deadly operation, however concluded that the review had not found incompetence, poor decision-making or bad judgment.

“As a result, I made the determination that there was no need for an additional investigation into this particular operation,” Votel said.

Despite the botched operation, the US continued to carry out attacks in Yemen. Earlier this month, four separate US drone strikes targeted suspected al-Qaeda members, US officials said.

Shortly after, the Pentagon spokesman Captain Jeff Davis said at a news briefing that the US had carried out more than 30 strikes in Shabwah, Abyan and Al Bayda provinces.


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