In the first official military raid conducted in Yemen under President Donald Trump, an eight-year-old girl, along with several Yemeni women and a SEAL agent, was killed. The girl was Nawar al-Awlaki, the daughter of Anwar al-Awlaki, the New Mexico-born al Qaeda leader. Her father was killed in a different U.S. raid, five years ago.
Joint Special Operations Command was tasked with successfully invading Bayda, Yemen. Their objective was to retrieve computer equipment carrying sensitive information. However, the mission went sideways, which ended up claiming several lives.
Nawar al-Awlaki Facts
According to NBC News, Nawar al-Awlaki, also known as Nori, used to live with her mother. Nasser al-Awlaki, Yemen’s former agriculture minister, is the grandfather of the little girl. According to him, Nawar fled the capital of Yemen, Sa’ana due to constant shelling. She and her mother previously lived with him. Even though it has not been confirmed yet, Nasser has also mentioned that Nawar’s mother was also killed in the raid.
Former Yemeni Deputy Minister of the Environment and Water Resources, Ammar Al-Awlaki, the uncle of Nawar, posted an emotional recollection of his niece’s phone call to his mother. He recalled how excited she was when she promised to visit her grandmother in a week’s time. Unfortunately, little Nawar will not be able to keep her promise.
He also recalled how as Nawar was bleeding out was still able to assure her mom that she is alright. “Don’t cry mama, I’m fine, I’m fine,” Nawar said. Her last moment showed how far mature she was than her actual age. “Why kill children? This is the new [US] administration – it’s very sad, a big crime,” said the heartbroken uncle, reported Albawaba.
A military official has commented on the incident saying that it was true that many non combatants were killed during the operation. However, regarding the al-Qaeda camp, where Nawar and her mother had taken refuge, they said that their attack was justified. According to them there were a few combatant women inside the camp who open fired at them as they approached.
However, Nasser disagreed with the U.S. military’s version of the raid. “They [the SEALs] entered another house and killed everybody in it, including all the women. They burned the house. There is an assumption there was a woman [in the house] from Saudi Arabia who was with al Qaeda. All we know is that she was a children’s teacher,” said he.
Donald Trump: The Raid Was Successful
Among the casualties incurred in Yemen was al-Awlaki’s brother-in-law. The official death toll, as stated by Pentagon, are 14 militants and “numerous” Yemeni residents. However, Nasser has put the death count at an alarming 59.
Even though the main objective was not fulfilled by the special ops team, Donald Trump has declared the raid as a successful one. He and his Defense Secretary, James Mattis, have paid tribute to the fallen SEAL, Chief Petty Officer William “Ryan” Owens. “Ryan gave his full measure for our nation, and in performing his duty, he upheld the noblest standard of military service,” said Mattis.
— KhalilMENA (@WarNews24_7) January 29, 2017
— غسّان ملهم #سوريا (@a_a602) January 29, 2017