Washington — The U.S. military on Friday released a short clip of what it said were instructional videos seized in last weekend’s Yemen raid, but it was unclear whether the video actually came from the raid.
U.S. Central Command released the clip, which is a bit longer than a minute, as proof that Special Operations forces collected significant intelligence in the deadly raid. But the images appeared similar to vintage al-Qaida training footage made public about a decade ago and may represent the same footage.
The mission ended in a fierce firefight killing a Navy SEAL and 14 militants, including two operational planners and weapons experts for al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, Central Command said.
The military also believes that an undetermined number of civilians were killed in the raid.
In the video, a man wearing a white lab coat and a black hood with his glasses perched over it talks about explosives training.
The man says the training is “how to destroy the cross with explosives.”
He adds, “We start by reminding you with a very important point that we would like as many people to graduate with this knowledge and expertise as possible,” according to a translation by Central Command.
The video also shows someone mixing liquids in scientific-looking beakers.
Air Force Col. John Thomas, Central Command spokesman, acknowledged the video appears to be older. But he said the team collected more intelligence and data in the Yemen raid “than we’ve gotten at any one time on AQAP up to now.” It included videos, computer and communications equipment and data.
He said the U.S. military has been trying to build up its understanding and intelligence on al-Qaida’s Yemen-based affiliate.
Thomas also said that the enemy combatants, including a number of women, appeared to be more prepared to defend their compound than initially expected. One example is that women in the compound grabbed guns and went to what appeared to be pre-planned fighting positions.
He said that after extensive review of the mission by the team over the last several days, officials have concluded that there was “no indication, no evidence, anyone knew they were coming.” He said members of the team were at the compound for some time before they were detected by the enemy fighters.
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