A recent US attack on al-Qaeda terrorists in impoverished Yemen “likely” left civilians dead, says the United States Central Command.
In a statement on Wednesday, CENTCOM added that the January 29 raid casualties also included children.
“A team designated by the operational task force commander has concluded regrettably that civilian non-combatants were likely killed in the midst of a firefight during a raid in Yemen January 29. Casualties may include children,” CENTCOM said.
US officials maintain that their commandos killed 14 members of the al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and the civilian deaths occurred when US aircraft were called for help.
“The known possible civilian casualties appear to have been potentially caught up in aerial gunfire that was called in to assist US forces in contact against a determined enemy that included armed women firing from prepared fighting positions, and US special operations members receiving fire from all sides to include houses and other buildings,” the statement read.
CENTCOM spokesman Colonel John Thomas suggested that the civilian casualties could have been caused by the Takfiris’ use of civilians as shields.