U.S. Military Says One Servicemember Killed in Yemen Raid

  • U.S. aircraft intentionally destroyed after a hard landing
  • First time U.S. soldier killed in action under President Trump

An American serviceman was killed in a raid against al-Qaeda militants in Yemen, the U.S. military said, the first such loss since President Donald Trump took office.

Three others were wounded in the attack on Saturday that killed about 14 al-Qaeda members and led to the capture of “information that will likely provide insight into the planning of future terror plots,” the U.S. Central Command said in a statement Sunday.

A military aircraft assisting in the operation was intentionally destroyed after experiencing a hard landing at a nearby location, which resulted in an additional U.S. injury, Central Command said.

Trump was kept informed of the operation, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said Sunday on ABC’s “This Week.” Spicer cited the risks faced by the U.S. military in fighting terrorists abroad as added justification for Trump’s executive order to temporarily ban entry to the U.S. from seven predominantly Muslim Middle East nations, including Yemen.

“Americans are saddened this morning with news that the life of a heroic service member has been taken in our fight against the evil of radical Islamic terrorism,” Trump said in the first such note of condolence he’s penned as commander in chief. “My deepest thoughts and humblest prayers are with the family of this fallen service member.”

Under the order, citizens of Yemen, Syria, Iraq, Iran, Sudan, Somalia, and Libya are banned from entering the U.S. for 90 days, while the government determines what information it needs from countries to safely admit visitors. In addition, the admission of refugees would be suspended for 120 days. Two U.S. judges acted late Saturday to block enforcement of portions of the order.

Al-Qaeda has an active presence in Yemen, the poorest country in the Arabian Peninsula. The militant group has used the instability in Yemen to plot attacks against Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest oil supplier, and the U.S. Saudi Arabia is fighting a proxy war against Iran in Yemen.

“This is one in a series of aggressive moves against terrorist planners in Yemen and worldwide,” the U.S. military said. “Similar operations have produced intelligence on al-Qaeda logistics, recruiting and financing efforts.”

— With assistance by Ben Brody

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