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HRW: US Should Investigate Civilian Deaths in Yemen Raid

A picture taken on March 10, 2016 shows an apache helicopter firing during the Northern Thunder military exercises in Hafr al-Batin, 500 kilometres north-east of the Saudi Capital Riyadh. Warplanes roared overhead, tanks rumbled across the desert and smoke filled the sky for the final day of what Saudi Arabia billed as the region's biggest-ever military exercises. The 12-day "Northern Thunder" manoeuvres in the kingdom's northeast included 20 nations from the Middle East, Africa and Asia, Saudi officials said. / AFP PHOTO / FAYEZ NURELDINE
Written by Staff


[JURIST] Human Rights Watch (HRW) on Friday called on [HRW report] the United States to investigate the January 2017 US raid on Al-Qaeda that resulted in the deaths of at least 14 people. US special forces conducted an intelligence-gathering raid on the small Yemen town of al-Ghyeel on January 29, 2017. According to witnesses interviewed by HRW, US forces were engaged in a firefight with villagers when the military began to “target anything that moved and anyone who left their home.” According to those accounts, five women and nine children were killed during the fighting. Nadim Houry, terrorism and counterterrorism director at Human Rights Watch, stated,

As the civilian toll of the al-Bayda raid comes to light, it is increasingly clear that a thorough investigation is needed so that measures can be adopted to avoid such civilian losses in the future. If the US can’t do that impartially and transparently, they should ensure that an independent inquiry can be carried out.

Middle East relations have been tense of late, particularly since President Donald Trump’s executive order to restrict immigration refugee entry into the US. Trump signed the order in late January, restricting access to the US for refugees and visa holders from Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia and Yemen. Although the Department of Justice released a memorandum [JURIST report] approving of the ban, it has been widely criticized. According to JURIST Guest Columnist Karla McKanders, the order violates the Immigration and Nationality Act [JURIST report]. Earlier this month, JURIST Contributing Editor Marjorie Cohn discussed the constitutional violations resulting from the executive order, asserting that the order violates four Constitutional clauses and at least two international treaties.

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