Pentagon IDs Navy SEAL killed in Yemen raid

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The Pentagon identified Monday the Navy SEAL killed in a raid of an al Qaeda facility in Yemen over the weekend.

The sailor was Chief Special Warfare Operator William “Ryan” Owens, 36, of Peoria, Ill., the Pentagon said in a statement Monday. He was the first American killed in the years-long fight against al Qaeda’s Yemen branch.

Defense Secretary James Mattis offered his condolences to Owens’s family and colleagues.

“Ryan gave his full measure for our nation, and in performing his duty, he upheld the noblest standard of military service,” Mattis said in a statement Monday. “The United States would not long exist were it not for the selfless commitment of such warriors. I thank our gallant troops and their families for their dedication to protecting this nation, and I pass our respects to Ryan’s family in this most difficult time.”

On Saturday, SEAL Team 6 raided a headquarters for al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, considered the most dangerous al Qaeda branch.

In addition to Owens’s death, three service members were injured in the raid. A fourth service member was also injured when a U.S. military aircraft assisting in the operation experienced a hard landing at a nearby location.

The raid killed an estimated 14 al Qaeda members, according to U.S. Central Command. It also resulted in the capture of information that “will likely provide insight into the planning of future terror plots,” Centcom said.

There have also been reports of civilian casualties, including women and children. The Pentagon said Monday it is looking into the reports, but added that there were clearly trained female combatants among the dead.

Reports of the number of civilians killed range from 16 to 30. Among the children reported to have been killed include the 8-year-old daughter of Anwar al-Awlaki, the American-born cleric and top al Qaeda leader in Yemen killed in a U.S. drone strike in 2011. 

Al-Awlaki’s brother-in-law, also an al Qaeda leader, was also reported to have been killed in the raid.

Updated at 6:26 p.m.

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