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Pentagon IDs Navy SEAL killed in Yemen raid

By Doug G. Ware
Pentagon IDs Navy SEAL killed in Yemen raid
Navy Chief Petty Officer William "Ryan" Owens was killed on Saturday during a raid on a suspected militant compound in Yemen. Owens died and three others were injured when a MV-22 Osprey aircraft, similar to the one above, landed hard at the raid site. Photo courtesy Tech. Sgt. Joshua J. Garcia/U.S. Air Force

Jan. 30 (UPI) -- The U.S. Department of Defense on Monday identified a Navy SEAL who was killed -- along with an 8-year-old girl -- in an anti-terror raid in Yemen over the weekend.

The Pentagon identified the soldier as Chief Petty Officer William "Ryan" Owens, an Illinois native and member of the elite, Virginia-based Navy team known as Seal Team 6.

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Owens, 36, died and three other American servicemen were injured in the raid Saturday, which targeted al-Qaida militants at an Arabian Peninsula compound.

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Defense officials said the death and injuries happened when a MV-22 Osprey aircraft landed hard at the arrival site. The inoperable aircraft was subsequently destroyed by a U.S. airstrike.

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"Ryan gave his full measure for our nation, and in performing his duty, he upheld the noblest standard of military service," Defense Secretary James Mattis said in a statement. "The United States would not long exist were it not for the selfless commitment of such warriors."

Also killed in the strike were 14 militants and an 8-year-old girl, Nawar Al-Awlaki -- the granddaughter of al-Qaida operative Anwar al-Awlaki, who was killed in 2011, defense officials said.

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"I thank our gallant troops and their families for their dedication to protecting this nation and I pass our respects to Ryan's family in this most difficult time," Mattis, sworn in as Pentagon chief last week, added.

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"This [operation] was specifically to enable us to gather the information we needed to be able to map out this group better, and to prevent future foreign terrorist attacks," Navy spokesman, Capt. Jeff Davis, said.

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