The commanding officer of the U.S. Central Command told the Senate Armed Services Committee Thursday that a civilian casualty investigation determined that the U.S. military killed between 4 and 12 civilians during the Navy SEAL raid in Yemen in late January. "We have made a determination that we did cause civilian casualties," said Gen. Joe Votel, who put the number at somewhere between four and 12.
"We lost a lot in this operation," Votel said, referencing the SEAL killed, the Americans wounded, the civilians killed, and a helicopter destroyed. He added that "we did gain some valuable information that will be helpful for us. Our intention was to improve our knowledge against this threat."
Votel took responsibility for the mission and said that he presided over an "exhaustive after-action" review that looked at it "in great detail" and he said that he is satisfied that they did not find evidence of incompetence, poor decision-making, bad judgment, information gaps, or conflicting information.
"I made the determination that there was no need for an additional investigation into this operation," he said.