USA pounds al Qaeda in Yemen with more than 20 strikes

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The United States conducted 20 airstrikes against al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula in Yemen overnight, according to two USA officials.

The U.S. official familiar with the intelligence gathered from the raid told ABC News that information obtained in the January 28 raid included contacts on hundreds of AQAP sympathizers in the Middle East and in the West.

When the raid was over, Chief Petty Officer William "Ryan" Owens had been killed, six other troops had been injured, a V-22 Osprey was destroyed and as many as 30 civilians, including nine children, had been killed.

It includes information on al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula's training techniques and targeting priorities, said the official, who wasn't able to discuss details of the classified military operation publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.

Some twenty USA airstrikes rained down on al-Qaeda targets in Yemen on Tuesday, the Pentagon said, adding that the strikes were coordinated with Yemen's president.

More than 20 strikes launched Thursday targeted AQAP militants, equipment and infrastructure in the Yemeni governorates of Abyan, Al Bayda and Shabwah, according to a statement by Pentagon spokesman Capt. Jeff Davis.

The US military was forced to withdraw a video by militants it initially released as evidence that the raid was a counterterrorism success.

AQAP and the Islamic State group have exploited a power vacuum created by a conflict between the government and Houthi rebels, in order to expand their presence in Yemen, especially in the south and southeast.

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Owens's father has described the mission as "stupid", and declined to meet with Trump. The administration, however, citing the military, has heralded the raid.

And a fourth targeted an Al-Qaeda position east of Shaqra in the southern province of Abyan, a security source said.

One US official said Thursday's airstrikes had been planned for weeks, and were being discussed before the deadly January raid.

There was no immediate word of casualties in the Sawmaa and Shaqra strikes.

They said they heard loud explosions early this morning in Al-Maraqisha, a rugged mountainous area where Al-Qaeda militants took refuge a year ago after they were driven out of Yemeni cities they had captured earlier.

The U.S. raid in January killed some two dozen civilians, including Abdullah Mabkhout al-Ameri.

Local news media in Yemen reported that at least three people suspected of being al-Qaida members were killed in the country's southeastern province of Shabwa.

"This was a mission that was started before I got here", Trump said.