The United States has carried out more than 30 airstrikes in Yemen in recent days against the terrorist group al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula. This dangerous terrorist group remains intent on attacking the West, said spokesman Navy Captain Jeff Davis.
"These counterterrorism strikes were conducted in partnership with the government of Yemen," Davis said, adding, "U.S. forces will continue to target [al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula] militants and facilities in order to disrupt the terrorist organization's plots and ultimately to protect American lives."
The aim of the strikes is to keep the pressure on the terrorists and deny them access and freedom of movement within traditional safe havens, Davis said. "They've taken advantage of ungoverned spaces in Yemen to plot, direct and inspire terrorist attacks against the United States," he added.
Recent actions have targeted militants, equipment and infrastructure in the governorates of Abyan, Al Bayda and Shabwah and will degrade the terrorist group's ability to coordinate external terror attacks and limit its ability to use territory seized from Yemen’s legitimate government as a safe space for terror plotting, said captain Davis.
Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula remains an extremely dangerous al-Qaida affiliate, and is taking advantage of the chaos in the country from the civil war there, Davis said, noting that the AQ organization “has more American blood on its hands" than the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria does.
Davis said al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula is a "deadly terrorist organization that has proven itself to be very effective in targeting and killing Americans, and they have intent and aspirations to continue doing so."
"This is a dangerous group locally, regionally and transnationally, to include against the United States, the West and our allies," said a defense official speaking on background.
"We'll continue to work with the government of Yemen and our partners on the ground," said Captain Davis, "to defeat [al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula] and deny it the ability to operate."