Senior military officials quoted by NBC News today confirmed what was reported over the weekend, that the Navy SEAL Team 6 raid against Yemen, which officials had previously insisted killed only 14 “al-Qaeda combatants,” killed an eight-year-old American girl.
The girl, Nawar al-Awlaki, or Nora, was the daughter of US-born cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, who was assassinated by President Obama years ago. Nora’s grandfather said she was shot in the US raid, and was one of several children killed in the attack.
Though the Pentagon claimed the attack to be against “al-Qaeda headquarters” in the area, the only named victims were members of Awlaki’s family. The US maintains that 14 “combatants” were slain, and also insisted that a lot of them were female, but locals say the overall death toll was around 57.
While the Obama Administration assassinated both Awlaki and his son with relatively little backlash, and successfully skirted legal challenges to the killing of American citizens, it’s going to be very hard for President Trump to do the same with an eight-year-old girl.
The officials quoted today also conceded that almost everything possible went wrong in the raid, the first signed off on by Trump since inauguration. In addition to killing children, the initial evacuation of the SEALs was botched, when the V-22 Osprey crashed, and troops had to destroy it when they were unable to get it off the ground, being stuck waiting for a second evacuation attempt.