SEAL, American Girl Die in First Trump-Era U.S. Military Raid
Two Americans, one a SEAL and the 8-year old daughter of the New Mexico-born al Qaeda leader who was killed five years earlier in a U.S. strike, were both killed in a military raid executed by current President Donald Trump in Yemen this past Sunday.
Organized by the Joint Special Operations Command, three al Qaeda leaders were killed in the raid. According to the senior military official, the mission involved “boots on the ground” in south central Yemen close to an al Qaeda camp. However, the raid which was meant to gather intelligence didn’t go as planned.
Several SEALs were injured from the beginning due to a rough landing, and another SEAL and noncombatants were killed while on the ground during the firing of weapons. One of the noncombatants was the 8-year-old girl, Nawar al-Awlaki, who was confirmed to be dead by her grandfather.
James Mattis, defense secretary, released a statement on Monday naming the SEAL killed as Chief Petty Officer William “Ryan” Owens.
U.S. officials say some women were killed, but were also combatants who began to shoot at SEALs. Nawar’s grandfather had an altering viewpoint, saying, "They [the SEALs] entered another house and killed everybody in it, including all the women…”
Nawar’s mother did survive after having fled with her daughter, Nawar, from the capital of Yemen to take refuge from mass firings. Among other deceased was the 8-year-old girl’s brother-in-law.
The death toll counts 14 militants, according to the Pentagon, including other combatants and civilians killed, which can be counted as high as 59.
The U.S. was meant to search for any insight into any future terrorist plans, but the senior U.S. military official told NBC News, “"Al Qaeda is probably stronger in Yemen than in any other country. The U.S. has mounted in intense effort for the past three years from ship, air and drone to go after a reconstituting core al Qaeda organization in Yemen."
Anwar al-Awlaki, Nawar’s father, was killed not too far from the raid in Yemen this past Sunday in Sept 2011. Al-Awlaki had moved to Yemen, became a propagandist and is believed to have been a potential aid to Osama Bin Laden, according to U.S. intelligence.
However, 8-year-old Nawar is the second child of Anwar al-Awlaki to be killed. Later in 2011, al-Awlaki’s 16-year-old son was killed in a drone strike. U.S. officials said it wasn’t intentional, but that he had happened to be with an al Qaeda leader at the time.
Al Qaeda released a statement online calling the raid a “massacre,” and the deaths of three al-Awlaki family members will only create a stronger drive of al-Qaeda propagandist efforts against the U.S.
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