US Drone Strike Kills Nine in Yemen

Locals Say Some of Slain Were 'Saudi Militants'

by Jason Ditz, January 20, 2013

US drones attacked a pair of vehicles in the city of Ma’arib today in central Yemen, killing nine people, most of them unidentified. One was believed to be a local al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) faction leader, though officials said the bodies were too charred to positively identify.

Tribal officials said that at least two of the slain were “Saudi militants,” but did not have names for either of the slain. US officials, as usual, have not commented on the drone strikes or who they may have killed.

The reports of Saudi militants being among the slain may fuel speculation of whether the US was even specifically responsible for today’s attacks, as recent reports have Saudi warplanes also launching attacks in Yemen, with the two nations being deliberately ambiguous about which of them launches any given attack to avoid specific blame for strikes that kill civilians.

Drone strikes have been hugely unpopular among Yemeni tribesmen, and many have expressed support for AQAP as a group looking to retaliate against them. Despite this, Yemeni ruler Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi has vowed the attacks will continue, insisting 9/11 obliges Yemen to allow US strikes.

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