President Donald Trump may just have banned Yemenis from travelling to the United States, but he appears to have no problem intervening in their internal affairs.
The newly inaugurated president authorized his first military raid over the weekend, resulting in the deaths of 30 Yemenis and an American soldier. The assault, which took place in the rural Yakla district of al-Bayda province, was reportedly an intelligence-seeking mission targeting a branch of terrorist organization al Qaeda.
While Trump has hailed the operation as a success, paying tribute to the marine who died, social media activists have highlighted the ten women and children who were reportedly killed.
Among them was the eight-year-old daughter of US-born Yemeni preacher Anwar al-Awlaki who was killed by an American drone strike in 2011. Al-Awlaki was involved in promoting al Qaeda and ensuring recruits. His 16-year-old son was also killed in 2011.
The uncle of the child, former Yemeni Deputy Minister of the Environment and Water Resources, Ammar Al-Awlaki posted the following emotional statement on Facebook:
I her final call with my mother - he grandmother - a few hours before her death, she said: "I have decided, grandmother, I'm going to come to you in a week's time and I'll visit my mother in the holidays."
She was injured with several bullets including one that pierced her neck. She was bleeding for two hours because it was not possible to get her medical attention.
As Nawar always had a personality and a mind far older than her years, she was reassuring her mother as she was bleeding out; ‘Don’t cry mama, I’m fine, I’m fine’. Then the call to the Dawn prayer came, and her soul departed from her tiny body.
Speaking to Reuters, Ammar added “Why kill children? This is the new [US] administration – it’s very sad, a big crime.”
Trump promised in his inauguration address that he would “eliminate radical Islamic terrorism”. There is already a US military presence in Yemen, where American forces are supporting the Saudi-led coalition against Houthi rebels and supporters of former President Ali Abdullah Saleh.
Many have condemned the killing of the young girl, as well as the other civilians, online:
This #Nawar_Al-Awlaki who US marines came to Yemen to kill and to implement a quality intelligence operation in order to destroy her and her mother. #AmericanTerrorism
#Nawar_Alwaki was not killed in an airstrike; but rather was shot by the Marines and from close range; it is terrorism beyond terrorism. But it is protected and justified by the media which markets it.
America’s Saudi allies have also been accused of targeting civilians in Yemen, including using cluster bombs which disproportionately affect children. More than 10,000 have been killed since the start of bloody conflict in the Middle East’s poorest country.
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