A dawn attack in Bayda province has left one US commando dead and three others wounded. The offensive began by US Navy's SEAL Team 6 landing from helicopters. The raid was President Trump's first counterterrorism operation since he took office.
Gen. Joseph Votel, the head of the Pentagon's Central Command, said in a statement: "We are deeply saddened by the loss of one of our elite service members. The sacrifices are very profound in our fight against terrorists who threaten innocent peoples across the globe."
A fourth service member was wounded in a "hard landing" in a location nearby, US Central Command said. Around 14 al-Qaida militants were killed in the attack, with US forces gathering "information that will likely provide insight into the planning of future terror plots".
Three al-Qaida leaders were also killed and named as Abdul-Raouf al-Dhahab, Sultan al-Dhahab, and Seif al-Nims, said security and tribal officials.
The al-Dhahab family are believed to be allies of al-Qaida, which is said to be strong in the Bayda province, according to security forces.
"The operation began at dawn when a drone bombed the home of Abdulraoof al-Dhahab and then helicopters flew up and unloaded paratroopers at his house and killed everyone inside," said one resident, speaking on condition of anonymity.
"Next, the gunmen opened fire at the US soldiers who left the area, and the helicopters bombed the gunmen and a number of homes and led to a large number of casualties."
The death of al-Dhahab was confirmed by al-Qaeda on its official Telegram account, praising the dead man as a "holy warrior".
The bloody skirmish killed around 30 people including 10 women and three children, said Reuters. An official with al-Qaida corroborated the killings, describing the attack as a "massacre".
A Yemeni security officer and a local official confirmed the incident. A local resident said several bodies remained under debris and that houses and the local mosque were damaged in the attack.
One American service member was killed and three others were wounded in the raid on the ground, according to intelligence sources.
US drone strikes are believed to have killed three other alleged al-Qaida fighters just over a week ago in Bayda province.
The American forces were said to be looking for al-Qaida leader Qassim al-Rimi, although it's believed they captured and left with two unidentified men, according to AP. Rimi is al-Qaida's senior military commander in the Arabian Peninsula and has a $5m price tag on his head, according to Rewards for Justice.
Al-Qaida has taken advantage of Yemen's civil war, taking land in eastern and southern territories. Over 6,800 people have been killed and 35,000 wounded since March 2015, according to the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).