“This is really about providing fusion and access to U.S. information on a tactical, real-time level,” Defense Department spokesman Navy Capt. Jeff Davis said Friday. Davis would not say how many U.S. forces were contributing to the ground mission but indicated it is fewer than two dozen. Other officials at the Pentagon declined to comment on a local Yemeni news report that a force of as many as 100 Army Rangers have landed in Lahij, Yemen, roughly 350 miles to the west.
Until early last year, the U.S. had a special forces targeting team in Yemen tasked with identifying combatants and leaders from AQAP, considered one of the world’s most dangerous extremist groups and foremost in its desire to attack the U.S. The troops left in March 2015, a month after the U.S. shut down its embassy and withdrew all staff in Yemen over security concerns amid the ongoing civil war between forces loyal to the pro-Saudi government and the Iran-backed Houthi militants. …READ MORE