Trump is overseas, drone strikes in Yemen
Drone strikes are back. Three civilians were killed along with nearly three dozen suspected militants following several air strikes in Yemen, according to government officials in the country.
An air strike killed 10 suspected Al Qaeda operates along with three nearby civilians in central Yemen on Saturday, and a series of strikes killed 25 suspected militants in a similar attack against militants in southern Yemen on Sunday, Reuters reported citing the state news agency Saba.
The latest strike targeted several high-profile militants as they were traveling through the central province by SUV, a government security official told Saba. The militants were “among the dangerous and leading elements of al-Qaida” who were suspected of plotting attacks against “vital civil and military institutions in al-Bayda province,” the official said.
A civilian eyewitness quoted by the Associated Press said the initial strike tossed the SUV about 20 meters. The civilian said the strike followed a series of explosions that lasted around 30 minutes. A medical official told the AP that the airstrikes killed three civilians and injured three others. CNN reported the civilians were day laborers who were in a truck near the SUV when it was struck.
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A Yemeni defense minister who spoke to CNN on condition of anonymity called the civilian casualties “unfortunate.”
On Sunday, more than a dozen suspected militants were killed in a series of drone strikes in the southern portion of the country. According to local officials who were quoted by Reuters, three strikes targeting Al Qaeda camps took place after the call to prayer at dawn.
Government officials acknowledged to Reuters that five militants were targeted and killed on Sunday as part of the country’s “efforts … to combat terrorism.” Tribal officials said 25 bodies had been removed from the camps that were targeted on Sunday. From the reports, it’s unclear if the bodies of the deceased belonged to suspected militants.
It is further unknown if the United States played any role in the weekend air strikes against Al Qaeda operatives. The American government has acknowledged in the past to using drones to combat suspected terrorist in the country, and the United States military is the only known foreign force to regularly use such tactics in Yemen.
Civilians in Yemen have regularly voiced their opposition to American-led drone strikes. But Yemeni President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi and Foreign Minister Abu Bakr al-Qirbi have defended them, saying they are necessary to combat against the terror threat posed by Al Qaeda.
There have been eight known aerial assaults against suspected militants in Yemen this year.