Father of US commando killed in Yemen refused to meet Trump

A report alleged that the mission had been compromised early on

News Desk February 27, 2017
Says the White House should not "hide behind" his son's death to ignore criticism of the raid. PHOTO: GETTY IMAGES

Father of Ryan Owens, a US Navy Seal killed in a raid on a suspected al Qaeda compound in Yemen in January, said that he has refused to meet US President Donald Trump when his son's body arrived home, according to a BBC report.

"I'm sorry, I don't want to see him," said Ryan’s father, Bill Owens, while speaking to a chaplain.

Ryan Owens, the 36-year-old married father of three, died on January 28 when he was carrying out a deadly raid on an al Qaeda compound in southern Yemen, in the first military operation authorised by President Donald Trump.

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The father of the US Navy Seal believed "the [US] government owes my son an investigation".

"Why at this time did there have to be this stupid mission when it was not even barely a week into his administration? Why?" he said in an interview with the Miami Herald published on Sunday.

"For two years prior, there were no boots on the ground in Yemen - everything was missiles and drones - because there was not a target worth one American life. Now, all of a sudden we had to make this grand display?''

The raid - approved by Trump just six days after he took office - is believed to have killed several civilians, including children.

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The new US president had also called the operation a success.

"Americans are saddened this morning with news that a life of a heroic service member has been taken in our fight against the evil of terrorism," Trump had said in a statement after the raid.

However, a report in the New York Times alleged that the mission had been compromised early on - something the commandos knew from intercepted communications, the paper said.

Bill Owens said he was told that his son was killed early on in a fierce gunfight that erupted with militants.

A flag-draped casket bearing his body was flown to Dover Air Base on February 1st for a private ceremony. He said he only learned that President Trump and his daughter Ivanka were on their way when he was already there.

"I told them I did not want to make a scene about it, but my conscience would not let me talk to him," he said.

He said that the White House should not "hide behind" his son's death to ignore criticism of the raid.

This article originally appeared on BBC.


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