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Iran Press TV

Trump lashes out at McCain for criticizing deadly Yemen raid

Iran Press TV

Thu Feb 9, 2017 10:55PM

President Donald Trump has lashed out at Republican Senator John McCain for criticizing the recent US raid in Yemen in which an American special forces trooper died.

The White House has characterized the January 28 strike on purported al-Qaeda targets in the central Yemeni province of Bayda as a "huge success," despite the death of multiple civilians and children in an hour-long gunfight in which Navy SEALs and troops from the United Arab Emirates clashed with well-entrenched al-Qaeda militants.

McCain told NBC News on Wednesday that he cannot call it a success "when you lose a $75 million airplane and, more importantly, an American life is lost."

McCain, the chairman of the Armed Services Committee, who was briefed on the raid, called the mission a failure because one US soldier died and one military aircraft crashed, not because of the death of civilians.

In a series of tweets on Thursday, Trump said that the Arizona senator's negative assessment of the deadly raid on al-Qaeda in Yemen "emboldens the enemy."

"Sen. McCain should not be talking about the success or failure of a mission to the media. Only emboldens the enemy!" Trump tweeted.

"He's been losing so … long he doesn't know how to win anymore, just look at the mess our country is in – bogged down in conflict all over the place. Our hero ... Ryan died on a winning mission (according to General Mattis), not a 'failure.' Time for the U.S. to get smart and start winning again!" he added.

US officials maintain that their commandos killed 14 members of the Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and the civilian deaths occurred when US aircraft were called for help.

However, medics at the scene said about 30 people, including 10 women and children, were killed.

Human Rights Watch said the United States should compensate the families of those "wrongfully" killed or wounded in the raid.

The attack also took the life of US Navy SEAL Team Chief Special Warfare Operator William "Ryan" Owens and left three other American troops wounded.

The White House has defended the raid as a "success by all standards," and said any criticism of the strike was a "disservice" to Owens.

"The life of Chief Ryan Owens was done in service to his country and we owe him and his family a great debt for the information we received during that raid," White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer on Wednesday said.

He added, "Any suggestion otherwise is a disservice to his courageous life and the actions he took. Full stop."

US Navy Captain Jeff Davis, a Pentagon spokesman, has disputed allegations that the mission was poorly planned and had lost the element of surprise. "We have nothing to suggest that this was compromised," Davis said, adding that the allegations "do not match with reality."

The New York Times and Reuters have reported that the Navy SEALs learned that their mission had been compromised after intercepting a transmission that showed the militants were preparing for their arrival.

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