Eyewitnesses in Yemen describe U.S. raid: 'Everyone who tried to run, they killed them'

Eyewitness describe President Trumps raid on Yemen.
(Image credit: Getty Images)

During President Trump's joint address to Congress last month, he acknowledged the widow of Navy SEAL Ryan Owens, who was killed in a U.S. raid in Yemen in January. "I just spoke to [Defense Secretary James] Mattis, who reconfirmed that, and I quote, 'Ryan was a part of a highly successful raid that generated large amounts of vital intelligence that will lead to many more victories in the future against our enemies," Trump said.

But eyewitnesses of the attack in Yemen have raised questions about America's version of the events, The Intercept reports. In addition to Owens' death, the attack left at least 25 civilians dead, including ten children:

Nesma al Ameri, an elderly village matriarch who lost four family members in the raid, described how the attack helicopters began firing down on anything that moved. As she recounted the horror of what happened, [5-year-old] Sinan tapped her on the arm. "No, no. The bullets were coming from behind," the 5-year-old insisted, interrupting to demonstrate how he was shot at and his mother gunned down as they ran for their lives. "From here to here," Sinan said, putting two fingers to the back of his head and drawing an invisible line to illustrate the direction of the bullet exiting her forehead. His mother fell to the ground next to him, still clutching his baby brother in her arms. Sinan kept running.His mother's body was found in the early light of dawn [...] "She was hit by the plane. The American plane," explained Sinan. "She's in heaven now," he added with a shy smile, seemingly unaware of the enormity of what he had witnessed or, as yet, the impact of his loss. "Dog Trump," declared Nesma, turning to the other women in the room for agreement. "Yes, the dog Trump," they agreed. [The Intercept]

The villagers also raised questions about some of the Pentagon's claims, such as that the women who were killed in the attacks were armed. The villagers noted that in the region, women using weapons is considered dishonorable. Villagers also pointed out "the practical implausibility of women clutching babies while also firing rifles," The Intercept writes.

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"Everyone who tried to run, they killed them," said Sheikh Aziz al Ameri, who "lost 20 members of his extended family, six of them children, the youngest only 3 months old." Read the full report at The Intercept.

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Jeva Lange

Jeva Lange was the executive editor at TheWeek.com. She formerly served as The Week's deputy editor and culture critic. She is also a contributor to Screen Slate, and her writing has appeared in The New York Daily News, The Awl, Vice, and Gothamist, among other publications. Jeva lives in New York City. Follow her on Twitter.