The U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) said on Wednesday that civilian non-combatants were likely killed in the Jan. 29 raid against al Qaeda militants in Yemen, and that “casualties may include children.”
It was the same raid that killed U.S. Navy SEAL William “Ryan” Owens and injured three additional service members.
“The known possible civilian casualties appear to have been potentially caught up in aerial gunfire that was called in to assist U.S. forces in contact against a determined enemy that included armed women firing from prepared fighting positions, and U.S. special operations members receiving fire from all sides to include houses and other buildings,” CENTCOM said in a statement.
It was a “complex situation” that included “small arms fire, hand grenades and close air support fire,” CENTCOM said.
On Wednesday, President Donald Trump traveled to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware for the arrival of Owens’ remains. Accompanied by his daughter, Ivanka, Mr. Trump’s visit was shrouded in secrecy. Owens’ family is said to have asked the visit to remain private.
Owens’ death was the first known combat death of a U.S. military member since Mr. Trump took office. The raid killed an estimated 14 militants.