Al Qaeda

Yemen anti-terror raid turned up intel 'treasure trove,' sources say

Pentagon officials report that the US led a raid against Al Qaeda fighters

 

A raid targeting senior Al Qaeda leaders in Yemen over the weekend yielded a large amount of potential intelligence, military sources tell Fox News. 

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The sources told Fox that the intelligence haul from the compound is "almost as good as Abbottabad," a reference to the 2011 raid that killed Usama bin Laden. One source described the information as a "treasure trove."

Navy SEALs managed to grab a laptop, about 10 cell phones, thumb drives, documents, and "a couple bags full" of material, according to officials with knowledge of the debriefing.  

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Navy Chief Petty Officer William "Ryan" Owens was killed and at least three other U.S. service members were wounded in the raid. Three more service members were injured when an MV-22 Osprey sent in to evacuate the wounded made a crash landing.

“It was a hard target. They made a tough call on the ground and went in the hard way. This was not a stand-off operation,” a senior military source told Fox News. “If they had not gone in on the target, they might not have lost anyone, but they also might not have gathered what they did from the compound.”

Intelligence analysts are said to be “still sifting” through all of the material collected, which included computer hard drives.

“Only way to judge the mission’s success will be the final analysis” of the materials gathered, a source said. 

According to the Associated Press, Sunday's raid left nearly 30 others dead, including more than half a dozen militant suspects. Several more children were also reportedly killed, including the 8-year-old daughter of radical U.S.-born cleric Anwar al-Awlaki. Two defense sources told Fox News that the team did not know in advance that the girl was present at the time of the raid.

Fox News has also learned that the mission had been presented to the Obama administration, but no decision was taken. Then-President Obama did not want to box in the new administration by approving a mission before Trump was sworn in Jan. 20. 

Other sources told Fox Sunday's raid would not have been approved by the Obama administration for fear of placing boots on the ground in Yemen.

Fox News' Lucas Tomlinson and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Jennifer Griffin currently serves as a national security correspondent for FOX News Channel . She joined FNC in October 1999 as a Jerusalem-based correspondent. You can follow her on Twitter at @JenGriffinFNC.