HASH(0xbe4e58)

HASH(0xbe4e58)

Military: First-known combat death since Trump sworn in

Military: First-known combat death since Trump sworn in

WASHINGTON — It’s been described as the greatest burden any commander in chief must bear.

Just days into his young presidency, a U.S. service member has died in military action authorized by Donald Trump. It’s the first known combat death of a member of the U.S. military since Trump took the oath of office on Jan. 20 and underscores the gravity of the decisions he now makes.

Three service members were also wounded Sunday during the firefight with militants from al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula’s branch in Yemen. The raid left nearly 30 others dead, including an estimated 14 militants. A fourth U.S. service member was injured when a military aircraft assisting in the mission had a “hard landing” nearby, according to U.S. Central Command.

“Americans are saddened this morning with news that a life of a heroic service member has been taken in our fight against the evil of radical Islamic terrorism,” Trump said in a statement.

“My deepest thoughts and humblest prayers are with the family of this fallen service member,” he said.

The names of the casualties were not released.

Planning for the clandestine counterterrorism raid began before President Barack Obama left office on Jan. 20, but Trump authorized the raid, according to a U.S. defence official, who was not authorized to discuss details beyond those announced by the Pentagon and so spoke on condition of anonymity.

The U.S. has been striking al-Qaida in Yemen from the air for more than 15 years, mostly using drones. Sunday’s surprise pre-dawn raid could signal a new escalation against extremist groups in the Arab world’s poorest but strategically located country.

The action provides an early window into how the new president will put his campaign rhetoric into action when it comes to foreign intervention.

Trump had promised an “America first” approach and an end to the “era of nation building” if he won the White House. Many interpreted his language as isolationist and expected Trump to be more cautious about where the U.S. intervened.

At the same time, Trump had broadcast a stronger posture on the world stage. He pledged to beef up the military and said he aimed to achieve “peace through strength.”

Sunday’s raid was not the first time that the United States had conducted a counterterrorism raid on the ground in Yemen, but it was not the usual approach of striking from the air, the defence official said.

The raid was planned as a clandestine operation and not intended to be made public, but the loss of a service member changed that, the official said, adding that no detainees were taken in the operation.

An al-Qaida official and an online news service linked to the terror group said the raid left about 30 people dead, including women and children. Among the children killed was Anwaar, the 8-year-old daughter of Anwar al-Awlaki, a radical Yemeni-American cleric killed in a U.S. airstrike in Yemen in 2011, according to the girl’s grandfather.

Nasser al-Awlaki told The Associated Press that Anwaar was visiting her mother when the raid took place. She was shot in the neck and bled for two hours before she died, he said.

In addition to killing the militants, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said U.S. forces “captured a whole host of information about future plots that’s going to benefit this country and keep us safe.”

The president “extends his condolences,” he said on ABC’s “‘This Week.” ”But more importantly, he understands the fight that our servicemen and women conduct on a daily basis to keep this country safe.”

Just over a week ago, suspected U.S. drone strikes killed three other alleged al-Qaida operatives in Bayda in what was the first-such killings reported in the country since Trump assumed the U.S. presidency.

Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, long seen by Washington as among the most dangerous branches of the global terror network, has exploited the chaos of Yemen’s civil war, seizing territory in the south and east.

The war began in 2014, when Shiite Houthi rebels and their allies swept down from the north and captured the capital, Sanaa. A Saudi-led military coalition has been helping government forces battle the rebels for nearly two years.

___

Ahmed al-Haj reported from Sanaa, Yemen. Associated press writers Maggie Michael in Cairo and AP National Security Writer Robert Burns in Washington contributed to this report.

Jill Colvin And Ahmed Al-Haj, The Associated Press

Canadian Press

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Chief Justice Christopher Hinkson (Office of the Chief Justice)
Judge questions whether B.C.’s top doctor appreciated right to religious freedom

Lawyer for province says Dr. Henry has outlined the reasons for her orders publicly

Okanagan high school girls volleyball players Georgia MacLean of Lake Country’s George Elliot Secondary (from left), Olivia Pederson of Vernon Christian School, Kassidy Schaper-Kotter of Vernon Secondary and Makenna Lane from W.L. Seaton Secondary have signed to play college volleyball with Abbotsford’s Columbia Bible College. (File photos)
Fraser Valley college inks quartet of Okanagan recruits

Columbia Bible College Bearcats in Abbotsford sign four players to women’s volleyball squad

Items seized by Chilliwack RCMP and Abbotsford Police during a Feb. 23 traffic stop. (RCMP photo)
Police from Chilliwack and Abbotsford seize drugs in traffic stop

Chilliwack RCMP worked with the Abbotsford PD to seize four kilograms of suspected fentanyl

(Black Press file photo)
Chilliwack RCMP looking for man who tried to grab boy near Robertson elementary school

A man in a parked minivan reached out the driver side window as a young boy passed by

Hope’s station house, moved from its original location along the railroad to 111 Old Hope Princeton Way. (Emelie Peacock/Hope Standard)
Health Minister Adrian Dix looks on as Dr. Bonnie Henry pauses for a moment as she gives her daily media briefing regarding COVID-19 for British Columbia in Victoria, B.C. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
7 additional deaths and 542 new COVID-19 cases in B.C.

Provincial health officials reported 18 new COVID-19 cases linked to variants of concern

A recently finished $4.3-million taxiway extension at the Victoria International Airport (not pictured) is unusable because of a blind spot. (Black Press Media file photo)
Blind spot leaves Victoria airport’s new $4.3-million taxiway extension unusable

Solution has been put on hold by COVID-19 pandemic, says airport authority

The City of Vancouver estimates there are 3,500 Canada geese in the city right now, and that number is growing. (Bruce Hogarth)
Help tame Vancouver’s Canada goose population by reporting nests: park officials

The city is asking residents to be on the lookout so staff can remove nests or addle eggs

A sample of guns seized at the Pacific Highway border crossing from the U.S. into B.C. in 2014. Guns smuggled from the U.S. are used in criminal activity, often associated with drug gangs. (Canada Border Service Agency)
B.C. moves to seize vehicles transporting illegal firearms

Bill bans sale of imitation or BB guns to young people

BC Housing minister David Eby is concerned that Penticton council’s decision to close a local homeless shelter will result in a “tent city” similar to this one in Everett, Wa. (Olivia Vanni / Black Press file)
‘Disappointed and baffled’ B.C. housing minister warns of tent city in Penticton

Penticton council’s decision to close a local homeless shelter could create tent city, says David Eby

Photo: Surrey RCMP
Surrey RCMP arrests two boys, age 16, during dial-a-dope investigation in Whalley

Sergeant Elenore Sturko said one boy is ‘alleged to have been in possession of a loaded handgun at the time of his arrest’

A recently published study out of UBC has found a link between life satisfaction levels and overall health. (Pixabay)
Satisfied with life? It’s likely you’re healthier for it: UBC study

UBC psychologists have found those more satisfied with their life have a 26% reduced risk of dying

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A vial of some of the first 500,000 of the two million AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine doses that Canada has secured through a deal with the Serum Institute of India in partnership with Verity Pharma at a facility in Milton, Ont., on Wednesday, March 3, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Carlos Osorio - POOL
Federal panel recommends 4-month gap between COVID vaccine doses due to limited supply

The recommendation applies to all COVID-19 vaccines currently approved in Canada

Most Read