Seven al-Qaida militants killed in US Special Forces raid in Yemen

WASHINGTON, May 22 (Reuters) - Seven militants were killed during an intelligence-gathering raid by U.S. Special Forces troops against an al-Qaida compound in Yemen on Tuesday morning, U.S. officials said.

U.S. Central Command said in a statement the al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) militants were killed "through a combination of small-arms fire and precision air strikes" in the Marib governorate, with the support of the Yemeni government.

"Raids such as this provide insight into AQAP's disposition, capabilities and intentions, which will allow us to continue to pursue, disrupt, and degrade AQAP," the statement said.

Two U.S. officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Reuters separately that there were no known U.S. casualties and the raid was carried out 40-45 km (25-30 miles) north of another U.S. raid that took place in late January.

RELATED: A look at life in Yemen

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Life in Yemen
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Life in Yemen
Women walk past a graffiti, denouncing strikes by U.S. drones in Yemen, painted on a wall in Sanaa, Yemen February 6, 2017. Picture taken February 6, 2017. REUTERS/Khaled Abdullah
A picture taken on February 8, 2017 shows the minaret of a mosque in the historic quarter of the capital Sanaa. / AFP / Mohammed HUWAIS (Photo credit should read MOHAMMED HUWAIS/AFP/Getty Images)
Yemenis walk in the old city of the capital Sanaa on February 8, 2017. / AFP / Mohammed HUWAIS (Photo credit should read MOHAMMED HUWAIS/AFP/Getty Images)
A Yemeni craftsman sits in his workshop at a market in the old city of the capital Sanaa on February 8, 2017. / AFP / Mohammed HUWAIS (Photo credit should read MOHAMMED HUWAIS/AFP/Getty Images)
Yemenis walk past stalls at a market in the old city of Sanaa on February 8, 2017. / AFP / Mohammed HUWAIS (Photo credit should read MOHAMMED HUWAIS/AFP/Getty Images)
Yemeni women walk along a road between old buildings in the old city of Sanaa on February 8, 2017. / AFP / Mohammed HUWAIS (Photo credit should read MOHAMMED HUWAIS/AFP/Getty Images)
Yemenis walk past stalls at a market in the old city of Sanaa on February 8, 2017. / AFP / Mohammed HUWAIS (Photo credit should read MOHAMMED HUWAIS/AFP/Getty Images)
Yemenis women shop at a stall at a market in the old city of Sanaa on February 8, 2017. / AFP / Mohammed HUWAIS (Photo credit should read MOHAMMED HUWAIS/AFP/Getty Images)
A Yemeni craftsman sits at his shop selling traditional Yemeni daggers known as 'Jambia' at a popular market in the old city of the capital, Sanaa, on February 8, 2017. / AFP / Mohammed HUWAIS (Photo credit should read MOHAMMED HUWAIS/AFP/Getty Images)
A Yemeni craftsman shapes metal at his workshop at a market in the old city of the capital Sanaa on February 8, 2017. / AFP / Mohammed HUWAIS (Photo credit should read MOHAMMED HUWAIS/AFP/Getty Images)
Yemeni craftsman shape metal in a workshop at a market in the old city of the capital Sanaa on February 8, 2017. / AFP / Mohammed HUWAIS (Photo credit should read MOHAMMED HUWAIS/AFP/Getty Images)
Yemenis walk past stalls at a market in the old city of Sanaa on February 8, 2017. / AFP / Mohammed HUWAIS (Photo credit should read MOHAMMED HUWAIS/AFP/Getty Images)
Women walk past a graffiti, denouncing strikes by U.S. drones in Yemen, painted on a wall in Sanaa, Yemen February 6, 2017. Picture taken February 6, 2017. REUTERS/Khaled Abdullah
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One of the U.S. officials said there were no immediate reports of civilian casualties in the raid, which was carried out by U.S. Special Forces troops.

The January operation, the first of its kind authorized by U.S. President Donald Trump, was hailed as a success by the White House and other U.S. officials.

However, critics questioned the value of the mission after a U.S. Navy Seal was killed. Women and children, as well as several militants, were also killed in the raid.

The U.S. military has carried out more than 80 strikes in Yemen against al-Qaida militants since February.

The group boasts one of the world's most feared bomb makers, Ibrahim Hassan al-Asiri, and AQAP has been a persistent concern to the U.S. government since a 2009 attempt to blow up a Detroit-bound airliner on Christmas Day.

The militant group has also taken advantage of a civil war pitting the Iran-aligned Houthis against the Saudi-backed government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi to try to widen its control and influence in the impoverished Arabian Peninsula country, one of the poorest in the Middle East. (Reporting by Idrees Ali and Phil Stewart; Editing by Christian Schmollinger and Paul Tait)

RELATED: A look back at President Trump, Ivanka visiting body of Navy SEAL killed in Yemen
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President Trump, Ivanka visit body of Navy SEAL killed in Yemen
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President Trump, Ivanka visit body of Navy SEAL killed in Yemen
WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 01: U.S. President Donald Trump and his daughter Ivanka Trump walk toward Marine One while departing from the White House, on February 1, 2017 in Washington, DC. Trump is making an unnanounced trip to Dover Air Force bace in Delaware to pay his respects to Chief Special Warfare Operator William 'Ryan' Owens, who was killed during a raid in Yemen. Owens is the first active military service member to die in combat during Trump's presidency. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
Marine One with US President Donald Trump flies with a decoy and support helicopters to Dover Air Force Base February 1, 2017 in Dover, Delaware, for the dignified transfer of Navy Seal Chief Petty Officer William 'Ryan' Owens who was killed in Yemen on January 29. / AFP / Brendan Smialowski (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 01: U.S. President Donald Trump and his daughter Ivanka Trump walk toward Marine One while departing from the White House, on February 1, 2017 in Washington, DC. Trump is making an unnanounced trip to Dover Air Force bace in Delaware to pay his respects to Chief Special Warfare Operator William 'Ryan' Owens, who was killed during a raid in Yemen. Owens is the first active military service member to die in combat during Trump's presidency. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus (R), US Vice President Mike Pence (C) and Senior Adviser Jared Kushner watch from the Rose Garden as Marine One carrying US President Donald Trump and his daughter Ivanka takes off from the White House in Washington, DC, on February 1, 2017. Trump flew to Dover Air Force Base for arrival of remains of a US commando killed William 'Ryan' Owens early January 29, in Yemen during a raid on Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. / AFP / NICHOLAS KAMM (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)
U.S. President Donald Trump arrives aboard the Marine One to greet the remains of a U.S. military commando killed during a raid on the al Qaeda militant group in southern Yemen on Sunday, at Dover Air Force Base, Dover, Delaware, U.S. February 1, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 01: U.S. President Donald Trump and his daughter Ivanka Trump walk toward Marine One while departing from the White House, on February 1, 2017 in Washington, DC. Trump is making an unnanounced trip to Dover Air Force bace in Delaware to pay his respects to Chief Special Warfare Operator William 'Ryan' Owens, who was killed during a raid in Yemen. Owens is the first active military service member to die in combat during Trump's presidency. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 01: Two military aides carry the nuclear football as they prepare to travel with U.S. President Donald Trump on Marine One at the White House, on February 1, 2017 in Washington, DC. Trump is making an unnanounced trip to Dover Air Force bace in Delaware to pay his respects to Chief Special Warfare Operator William 'Ryan' Owens, who was killed during a raid in Yemen. Owens is the first active military service member to die in combat during Trump's presidency. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
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