Military denies media reports about Yemen raid being an “HVT” mission

A senior US military official is in dispute with the US military regarding media allegations made in the early aftermath of a special operations raid in Yemen, saying the mission was geared towards capturing an al Qaeda chief and gathering intelligence.

The first publicised raid of the Trump administration, the operation combined US Navy SEALs, UAE special forces and air support. The SEAL team had been detected by al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) troops prior to reaching their objective, resulting in a fierce gun battle.

A senior military source told CNN that intelligence collection was only half of the battle in the ill-fated Yemen raid, which resulted in one Navy SEAL killed, several injured and twenty-three dead civilians.

CNN’s source said that AQAP leader Qassim al-Rimi was the target of the raid, he also noted that if al-Rimi wasn’t there, the US military believed it would find intelligence that would help them find him.

However, US Central Command disputes the claims that both the official and NBC (who first reported the claim) have made about al-Rimi being the target.

“It wasn’t a high-value target mission,” Colonel John Thomas told CNN, saying there was no hard intelligence indicating al-Rimi’s presence and that any high-level AQAP leaders would be in the SEALs’ custody if they had been.

“Anyone found on site would have been taken,” he added.

Al-Rimi has since released audio messages taunting President Donald Trump.

An 8-year-old girl and daughter of radical US-born cleric Anwar Al-Awlaki was also killed in the raid.

CNN’s senior military source said that the mission did not require al-Rimi’s presence in order to be executed.

The Pentagon reports that two AQAP leaders and 14 fighters were killed in the raid.

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  • Andy Wolf

    Andy Wolf is an Appalachian native who spent much of his youth and young adulthood overseas in search of combat, riches, and adventure- accruing decades of experience in military, corporate, first responder, journalistic and advisory roles. He resides in North Carolina's Blue Ridge Mountains with his K9 companion, Kiki.

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