Yemen Mess: White House Defends Deadly Raid, While Yemen Bans U.S. Troops

While the White House defends the deadly January 29th raid, Senator McCain deemed it a 'failure,' while Yemen has official withdrawn permission for U.S. troops to operate in the country.

Protesters loyal to the Shi'ite al-Houthi rebel group burn an effigy of a U.S. aircraft during a demonstration to protest against what they say is U.S. interference in Yemen, including drone strikes, after their weekly Friday prayers in the Old Sanaa city April 12, 2013.
Reuters/File Photo

In Tuesday's press briefing White House spokesman Sean Spicer called the recent Yemen raid, President Trump's first military action, a success.

When pressed to defend the now controversial January 29th raid, which killed a Navy SEAL, 14 members of Al-Qaida, and a number of civilians including an 8-year-old girl, Spicer insisted the objective of the raid was intelligence gathering and as such was "highly successful."

For its part, Yemen has responded by withdrawing permission for U.S. ground troops to operate in the country on Special Operations counterterrorism missions, the New York Times reports.

U.S. Senator John McCain, who chairs the Armed Services Committee, called the raid in Yemen a "failure" while speaking to reporters on Tuesday. McCains condemnation came after a classified briefing on the operation took place on Tuesday morning. 

The leader of Al-Qaida's Yemen branch said in a recorded speech released on Friday that the U.S. raid carried out last week had failed and was a blow to Trump. 

Qassim al-Raymi, who became leader of Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) in 2015, said that two U.S. helicopters had been downed in the incident and tens of U.S soldiers were injured. Previous reports from CNN citing senior U.S. military officials claimed the target of the raid was al-Raymi, not intelligence gathering as Spicer had claimed. 


"The fool of the White House has received a painful blow at the beginning of his journey through your hands," al-Raymi said, addressing the people of Yemen.

The raid on Al-Qaida in southern Yemen that took place last week was the first such operation authorized by Trump as commander-in-chief.

U.S. Navy SEAL William "Ryan" Owens was killed in the raid, which the Pentagon said also killed 14 militants. Medics at the scene said about 30 people, including 10 women and children, also died.

Al-Raymi said that 14 men had been killed 11 women and children were killed in the raid.