Middle East

Yemen raid against Al Qaeda was 'deepest' US special ops have gone

The Navy SEAL raid targeting Al Qaeda terrorists in Yemen was the "deepest" U.S. special ops forces have gone inside the country, the Pentagon confirmed Tuesday.

The overnight raid killed at least seven Al Qaeda fighters, according to U.S. Central Command. Some U.S. forces were injured but they all could move on their own, Pentagon spokesman Capt. Jeff Davis told reporters, adding that no civilians were killed.

The U.S. was targeting a compound the terrorists were using as "headquarters," Davis said. The Pentagon was still assessing the results of the raid Tuesday.

It happened about 30 miles north of where the SEALs launched a January raid against the Al Qaeda branch. Ryan Owens, a SEAL chief special warfare officer, was killed in the Jan. 29 raid.

In the latest operation, the U.S. partnered with an Arab force and backed up the raid with "numerous" airstrikes, a senior defense official told Fox News. An AC-130 gunship was called in to support the SEALs after the firefight began, Davis added.

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The raid was launched from Navy ships, including the USS Bataan, off the Yemeni coast, CENTCOM said in a statement.

The operation “was conducted with the support of the Royal Government of Yemen,” CENTCOM said in a statement. “In conjunction with our Arab allies, the U.S. will continue to support their efforts in bringing stability to the region by fighting known terrorist organizations like AQAP [Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula].”

The goal of the raid was to snatch more laptops and mobile phones and other intel to learn more about AQAP; it was not a raid to kill or capture a high-value target such as the terrorist group's emir, officials told Fox News. 

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President Trump did not authorize this specific raid, as the authority to order such strikes had been granted to Gen. Joseph Votel, head of CENTCOM, who ordered Tuesday's attack. 

There have been over 80 airstrikes against AQAP in Yemen, long considered the biggest terrorist threat to the West, since President Trump took office.

Earlier this month, a Navy SEAL Team Six member, Senior Chief Special Warfare Operator Kyle Milliken, was killed in Somalia fighting Al Shabab, the first combat death in Somalia since 1993. 

Fox News’ Jennifer Griffin and Lucas Tomlinson contributed to this report.