President Trump ordered his first covert counterterrorism mission in Yemen without "sufficient intelligence, ground support, or adequate backup preparations," Reuters reported Thursday via three unnamed U.S. military officials.
That inadequate information contributed to the operation's poor outcome, including the death of one U.S. soldier and more than a dozen civilians. The "attacking SEAL team found itself dropping onto a reinforced al Qaeda base defended by landmines, snipers, and a larger than expected contingent of heavily armed Islamist extremists," the officials told Reuters.
Among the civilians killed was an 8-year-old American girl who was the daughter of Anwar al-Awlaki, an American citizen assassinated along with his teenage son by U.S. drone strike in 2011. U.S. Central Command said in a statement Wednesday that it continues to assess "if there were any still-undetected civilian casualties" in the firefight.
While the United States has long supported Saudi Arabia's coalition intervention in Yemen, this operation marked the first U.S. ground mission in Yemen's civil war. The strike plan was rejected by former President Barack Obama before President Trump decided to move ahead with the operation.