A US drone strike has attacked and killed six people in central Yemen, in the Wadi Abidah region of Maarib Province. The six were claimed by officials as “armed al-Qaeda suspects,” though none have been identified by name so far.
Officials said that the attack took place “while they were at a meeting in a farm in the area,” suggesting this is the latest of the US “signature strikes” against al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), a type of attack which has killed large numbers of suspects, but most of dubious credibility as threats.
The “signature strike” policy involves US planes or drones targeting people on the ground solely on the basis of what they look like. For instance, multiple vehicles traveling in close proximity on a desolate highway are targeted because they look like a convoy, or a group of people meeting on the ground are struck because they are assumed to be armed insurgents.
Since early 2015 the US has limited intelligence on the ground in Yemen, with the bulk of their troops having withdrawn following the resignation of the Hadi government in January of 2015. Though a handful of US troops are on the ground now, there is still very limited targeting intelligence in the country, though drone strikes have not stopped.