The U.S. military pledged to probe the actual number of citizens killed during a weekend raid against a suspected al-Qaida camp in Yemen in the first mission authorized by President Donald Trump, according to The Hill.
Saturday’s mission claimed the lives of U.S. Navy SEAL William “Ryan” Owens and 14 al-Qaida members, according to the Pentagon.
The Trump administration initially said there were no civilian casualties in the operation, but reports from on the ground medics stated at least 30 people, including 10 women and children, were killed in the aftermath. U.S. Central Command or Centcom, the group in charge of military operations in the Middle East and Asia, “concluded regrettably that civilian non-combatants were likely killed,” and acknowledged children could be among the count, the outlet reports.
Reported accounts given in anonymity to Reuters and The New York Times detail that the mission was carried out with insufficient planning.
“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, three officials said, the attacking SEAL team found itself dropping onto a reinforced al Qaeda base defended by landmines, snipers, and a larger than expected contingent of heavily armed Islamist extremists.
The military officials who spoke to Reuters on condition of anonymity said “a brutal firefight” killed Owens and at least 15 Yemeni women and children. One of the dead was the 8-year-old daughter of Anwar al-Awlaki, a militant killed by a 2011 U.S. drone strike.”
According to The Guardian, the mission was approved by Trump, his son-in-law Jared Kushner, special adviser Stephen Bannon, as well as Defense Secretary General Jimmy Mattis during a dinner five days after the inauguration.
The al-Qaida base was identified as a target by the Obama administration ahead of January 20, but former President Barack Obama decided against approving the raid before his departure, Reuters reports.