The raid that led to the death of a Navy SEAL and an unknown number of civilians might be the last time Special Operations boots are on the ground in Yemen for a long time. Sources tell the New York Times that Yemen's government, angered by the civilian deaths, has dealt a major setback to US counterterrorism efforts by banning further ground raids against suspected terror groups in the country. The Jan. 29 raid, the first such mission of the Trump administration, has caused public anger in Yemen and the Times' sources say the official reaction was "strong." It's not clear whether Trump's inclusion of Yemen in his travel ban contributed to the decision to withdraw permission for US raids.
Officials say that despite the ban on raids, American drone strikes will still be permitted and US military advisers will continue providing intelligence support. White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer defended the raid on Tuesday, calling it an "intelligence-gathering raid" and saying it was "highly successful." Senate Armed Services Committee chief John McCain, however, described it as a "failure" after a Tuesday hearing and told reporters his committee will work to make sure the multiple problems experienced during the raid do not reoccur, BuzzFeed reports. ( Al-Qaeda leader Qassim al-Rimi, rumored to have been a target of the raid, taunted "new fool" President Trump in a recording released over the weekend.)