U.S. Central Command in Tampa announced Wednesday that in 2017, U.S. ground troops conducted "multiple ground operations and more than 120 airstrikes" in Yemen.
U.S. forces are trying to "disrupt the ability of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and ISIS-Yemen to use ungoverned spaces in Yemen as a hub for terrorist recruiting, training, and base of operations to export terror worldwide," CENTCOM said. Yemen is being devastated by a war between the government and Houthi rebels, and the Defense Department said that over the past year, the Islamic State has doubled in size in Yemen. That doesn't surprise experts, as ISIS has lost significant territory in Iraq and Syria, and is looking for a safe haven amid the chaos.
Under the Trump administration, the Defense Department has not been giving regular updates on U.S. troop activity in Yemen, NBC News reports, and the extent of counterterrorism operations in the country wasn't clear before Wednesday. The Pentagon also said that in November, three senior al Qaeda leaders were killed in Yemen, and in October, 50 ISIS Yemen militants were killed at two training camps.