SANAA Jan 29 (Reuters) – A U.S. commando died in a dawn raid in southern Yemen on Sunday that killed around 30 people including al Qaeda suspects and civilians, the U.S. military and local Yemeni officials said.

It was the first combat casualty of the Trump administration and its first operation in the war-damaged Arabian Peninsula nation against a powerful al Qaeda branch that has been a frequent target of U.S. drone strikes.

The gunbattle in the rural Yakla district of al-Bayda province killed a senior leader in Yemen’s al Qaeda branch, Abdulraoof al-Dhahab, along with other militants, al Qaeda said.

Medics at the scene said 30 people were killed, including 10 women and three children.

The U.S. military said in a statement that 14 al Qaeda militants died in the raid, which netted “information that will likely provide insight into the planning of future terror plots.”

Three U.S. commandoes were also wounded in the operation in which a military aircraft experienced a hard landing and was “intentionally destroyed in place.” – REUTERS

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