US drones hit multiple targets in Yemen today, killing at least 11 people, including at least two, but potentially many more innocent civilian bystanders, according to Yemeni officials.
The Yemeni military initially claimed all the slain were “al-Qaeda militants,” but officials later revised this count to say that only four of the dead had “links” to al-Qaeda, and two of the slain were definitely civilians. The other five remain totally unidentified.
Of the last six confirmed US strikes, this is the second time Yemeni officials have publicly conceded to civilian deaths, an unusual trend in a nation where the policy is usually to deny civilian victims no matter how much evidence there is to support it.
Locals have complained the attacks are fueling local support for al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) as well as resentment against the US, though Yemeni ruler Maj. Gen. Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi insists that 9/11 obliges them to allow the US unrestricted access to Yemeni airspace.