U.S. aircraft also carried out bombing missions in Iraq and Syria in recent days in support of local forces attacking Mosul and advancing on the Islamic State’s self-declared capital of Raqqa.
The U.S. Central Command regularly discloses strikes in Yemen in reports that cover two or three weeks at a time. Nine strikes have been carried out in Yemen since October, according to recent releases. One strike earlier this month reportedly killed Abd al-Ghani al-Rasas, a senior leader of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.
U.S. counterterrorism operations in Yemen have slowly increased since the collapse of the country’s government in 2014 when Houthi rebels forced then-Yemeni President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi to flee. Houthi rebels have since battled for control of the country in a bloody civil war that has also allowed al-Qaeda militants to seize territory in Yemen’s south.
The United States maintains a small ground presence of Special Operations forces in Yemen that coordinates with troops from the United Arab Emirates who are fighting al-Qaeda, while another U.S. detachment provides limited intelligence to Saudi-led forces that are focused on defeating the Houthis. Since 2014, more than 10,000 people have died and 40,000 have been wounded in the civil conflict, according to a recent statement by the United Nations.