At least 10 suspected al-Qaeda militants, three civilians killed in US drone attack in Yemen
By End the Lie
At least 10 individuals, suspected of being al-Qaeda militants, along with three civilians died in a U.S. drone attack in south Yemen on Saturday, the country’s Supreme Security Commission said, according to reports.
The strike targeted an SUV carrying 11 suspected combatants, one of whom was injured but survived, in the mountainous Sawmaa area of the al-Bayda province, some 168 miles southeast of the Yemeni capital of Sanaa.
Three civilians who were driving close to the SUV were also killed and another five were injured by shrapnel from the bombing, EFE reports.
The number of the individuals killed varies widely in different sources. China’s Xinhua, for example, cites an unnamed Yemeni army officer who says the attack killed 16 militants and five civilians.
This strike is the seventh drone attack in the past two months, according to Xinhua.
The Associated Press quoted an anonymous security official who said that a civilian survivor reported 30 minutes of explosions after the initial strike on a white SUV.
The survivor said that another drone fired near their car, killing one of his companions and leaving him wounded.
While all reports state that it was a U.S. drone strike, the Yemeni Supreme Security Council said it was an airstrike carried out by Yemeni authorities.
The Supreme Security Council said that the attack killed 10 al-Qaeda members who planned to attack “vital civilian and military institutions” in the area.
“The conflicting casualty figures and details of the attack could not be immediately reconciled,” the Associated Press reports.
Earlier in the day, Yemen Defense Ministry officials said that 12 suspected militants were killed.
“The militants were on a coordinating mission, and we have had our eyes on them for quite a while now,” an anonymous senior ministry official said to CNN.
An unnamed source in the region told CNN that the strike targeted three “well known” individuals who were operatives for al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and were linked to a training camp in southern Yemen.
The U.S. considers al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula to be one of the most dangerous al-Qaeda affiliates.
The unnamed source told CNN that none of those killed were believed to be part of the AQAP senior leadership, but that they had been monitored closely during training camp activities.
Tribal sources told Reuters that a drone had been circling al-Bayda for days.
The strike appears to be part of the U.S.’s campaign against AQAP, which is based in Yemen.
Despite the efforts of the Yemeni government and the U.S. to stamp out AQAP, the group continues to launch deadly attacks in the country.
Suspected al-Qaeda militants killed the deputy governor of al-Bayda as he was leaving his home earlier this week, a security official said, according to Reuters.
Recently, a video was released showing the leader of AQAP addressing a large group of fighters in Yemen and vowing to attack the United States, Reuters reports.
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