The U.S. military unleashed 40 airstrikes on al-Qaida targets over a five-day period in Yemen last week, more strikes than the Obama administration dropped in the war-torn nation in any given year of the civil war there, according to Foreign Policy magazine.
The surge of airstrikes is part of a ramp-up of U.S. counterterrorism operations in Yemen, and it comes roughly a month after President Trump approved the botched ground raid on an al-Qaida compound in the Shabwa province that resulted in the death of Navy SEAL Ryan Owens and an estimated 30civilians, including nine children.
The extent of damage caused by January's costly raid is still coming to light, with the Intercept recently detailing the "horror" the raid inflicted on nearby civilians. And on Thursday, a top military official told the Senate Armed Services committee that he accepts "full responsibility" for the operation.
But, by and large, Trump and his military advisers appear unperturbed by the heavy criticism they've received in the wake of his administration's first military blunder. Trump has repeatedly characterized the raid as a success, saying it "generated large amounts of vital intelligence that will lead to many more victories in the future against our enemies." And Gen. Joseph Votel, the head of U.S. Central Command, told Senators on Thursday that after a lengthy review of the raid, he had determined the military exhibited sound judgement and decision-making in moving forward with the mission, and that there was no need for further investigations.
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