President Trump made an unannounced trip to honor the return of a fallen U.S. Navy SEAL’s remains, following his death in a Yemen raid.
The President left the White House on Marine One with his daughter, Ivanka Trump, headed to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware, where he joined the Owens’ family for a small ceremony. Only a small group of reporters were permitted to join them on the trip, under the condition they not report it in advance. It was to be a solemn occasion.
The operation began as a mission to gather computers and electronic devices believed to contain information about Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, and possibly about future terrorist plots in the works. But it escalated unexpectedly into a firefight, and Chief Special Warfare Operator William “Ryan” Owens was killed.
Among those reportedly killed was the daughter of Anwar Awlaki, the American-born Al Qaeda leader who was based in Yemen and killed in a 2011 drone strike. Awlaki has been cited as the inspiration for several major attacks in the West, including the San Bernardino shootings.
The special operations raid had been planned for more than two months and was awaiting approval, said U.S. officials, who weren’t authorized to speak publicly on the clandestine operation.