On Wednesday, Fox News reported that sources confirmed to them that the U.S.-led raid on an Al Qaeda compound in Yemen over the weekend turned up a “treasure trove” of valuable intelligence. One source told the news agency that the amount of intel gathered from the operation is “almost as good as Abbottabad,” which was Osama Bin Laden’s compound.
Fox News spoke with a senior military official who said that if the dangerous operation that killed one U.S. Navy SEAL and injured another four hadn’t happened, this intelligence might not have ever been obtained.
“It was a hard target. They made a tough call on the ground and went in the hard way. This was not a stand-off operation,” the source told Fox. “If they had not gone in on the target, they might not have lost anyone, but they also might not have gathered what they did from the compound.”
The operation left one U.S. Navy SEAL dead, and another three service members injured. A MV-22 Osprey that was sent to help with the evacuation of the wounded made a hard landing, which resulted in the injuring of a fourth U.S. fighter.
On Monday, the Pentagon released a statement identifying the fallen U.S. Navy SEAL as 36-year-old Chief Petty Officer William “Ryan” Owens from Illinois. Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis said in a statement that Owens “gave his full measure for our nation, and in performing his duty, he upheld the noblest standard of military service.”
Intelligence analysts are still combing through the computer hard drives and other intelligence materials obtained from the raid. The operation also resulted in the killing of 14 Al Qaeda militants including three senior officials: Abdul-Raouf al-Dhahab, Sultan al-Dhahab, and Seif al-Nims.
The raid was the first anti-terror operation approved by President Donald Trump since he took office last month.
“Americans are saddened this morning with news that a life of a heroic service member has been taken in our fight against the evil of radical Islamic terrorism,” Trump said in a statement on Sunday. “My deepest thoughts and humblest prayers are with the family of this fallen service member. I also pray for a quick and complete recovery for the brave service members who sustained injuries.”