WASHINGTON — U.S. forces launched a strike against two ISIS training camps in Al Bayda Governorate, Yemen, killing dozens of ISIS fighters on Monday, according to the Defense Department.
The aircraft conducting the strike was unmanned, according to a Pentagon official.
“ISIS used the camps to train militants to conduct terror attacks using AK-47s, machine guns, rocket-propelled grenade launchers and endurance training,” according to a Defense Department news release.
The U.S. has launched more than 100 airstrikes in the war-torn country this year, according to Adrian Rankine-Galloway, a Pentagon spokesman.
However, the strikes targeting ISIS militants come as a bit of a surprise. In Yemen, U.S. forces have primarily targeted al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula.
It is not known at this time if the presence of the ISIS training camps in Yemen suggests the group is seeking a larger foothold in region as it continues to rapidly lose territory in Iraq and Syria.
“ISIS has used the ungoverned spaces of Yemen to plot, direct, instigate, resource and recruit for attacks against America and its allies around the world,” states the news release. “For years, Yemen has been a hub for terrorist recruiting, training and transit.”
Yemen’s instability is a result of a failed power handover in 2014 between Ali Abdullah Saleh and President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi that led to a civil war in the country.
The war has pitted Iranian backed Houthi rebels against predominantly Sunni supporters of Hadi.
Fearing an Iranian foothold in the region, a Saudi-led coalition has supported restoring Hadi to power. That military campaign has come under much criticism over civilian deaths from Saudi airstrikes.
The U.S. military has been supporting Saudi efforts with intelligence and logistic support. However, some members in Congress are seeking to end that support.
Congressman Ro Khanna, D-Calif., is leading a bipartisan effort with Thomas Massie R-Ky., Mark Pocan, D-Wis., and Walter Jones, R-N.C., to end the U.S. military’s involvement and support of the Saudi-led war.
The group submitted a resolution in late September invoking the War Powers Resolution to give Congress a vote on ending U.S. support of Saudi Arabia’s war in Yemen, according to a press release from Khanna.
In early October, a U.S. MQ-9 drone was shot down in Yemen by Houthi rebels.
Shawn Snow is the senior reporter for Marine Corps Times and a Marine Corps veteran.