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11:20 AM, January 30, 2017
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Trump Authorised Spl Ops in Yemen Kills US Soldier, 16 Civilians
Yemeni children stand amid the rubble of a building damaged in an airstrike (Image for representation: Press TV)

Sixteen civilians and a soldier were killed in the first US president Donald Trump authorized military operations carried out in Yemen last Saturday.

The US military said it killed 14 militants from “al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula” (AQAP), the organization’s branch in Yemen, in an attack launched on the rural Yakla district of al-Baida province.

However, local sources spoke about a higher toll of 41 al-Qaeda members and 16 civilians including eight women and eight children killed by the attack, Aawsat reported Monday.

The main target of the raid was leader of AQAP Qassem al-Rimi, who goes by the nom de guerre of Abu Hrira al-Sanaani, a US source was quoted as saying by the news daily.

The sources said that had the US forces not received information about the probable presence of al-Rimi in the area, no decision would have been taken to launch the raid, which needed the authorization of the highest commander of the US armed forces. However, the fate of al-Rimi is still unknown with no information on whether he was killed during the raid.

The sources added that the Pentagon had previously asked for the authorization of former US president Barack Obama to launch a similar raid in Yemen, but he had refused to take the risk.

A statement by the Central Command said Sunday an aircraft assisting in the operation faced a hard landing, leading to an additional US injury. The aircraft was unable to fly after the landing and was then intentionally destroyed in place.

A US defense official said the operation was directly authorized by Trump.

A Yemeni provincial official told Agence France Presse that Apache helicopters also hit a school, a mosque and a medical facility, which were all used by al-Qaeda militants.

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