Those forces are operating near the Yemeni port of al Mukalla, a safe haven for the group known as al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, or AQAP.
The strikes highlight the intensification of U.S. military operations in Yemen during the past several months. The effort continues to include a small team of American troops on the ground near the Yemeni port of al Mukalla, which has been a safe haven for the group known as al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.
- A May 19 strike in the Shabwah Governorate in central Yemen killed four al-Qaida operatives.
- A March 30 strike near Azzan in central Yemen killed two al-Qaida operatives.
- A Feb. 29 strike in Hadramawt Governorate in east Yemen killed three al-Qaida operatives.
- A Feb. 3 strike in Shabwah Governorate in central Yemen killed six al-Qaida operatives.
The four counterterrorism strikes disclosed Friday were legally unrelated to the U.S. support mission on the ground.
The small team of U.S. troops deployed in April to a "fixed location" in Yemen to provide support for operations led by the Yemeni military and the United Arab Emirates. Pentagon officials said those troops are providing intelligence support as well as airborne intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, advice and assistance with operational planning, maritime interdiction and security operations, medical support and aerial refueling.
"As part of Central Command's commitment to transparency, we will endeavor to release information about counterrerrorism strikes in places like Yemen, recognizing that there may be times when such announcements may be delayed for operational or intelligence reasons," Ryder said Friday.
"Sometimes there is going to be competing priorities in terms of operations and intelligence, collecting reflections on strikes, not wanting to let our adversaries know where those strikes are coming from. ... Sometimes the chatter that comes after a strike enables us to collect more intelligence on adversaries and conduct future strikes."
Andrew Tilghman is the executive editor for Military Times. He is a former Military Times Pentagon reporter and served as a Middle East correspondent for the Stars and Stripes. Before covering the military, he worked as a reporter for the Houston Chronicle in Texas, the Albany Times Union in New York and The Associated Press in Milwaukee.