A pair of US drone strikes over the past 48 hours have killed at least nine people, none of them identified by name but all of them labeled “al-Qaeda suspects” by local officials on the ground in Yemen.
The Wednesday night attack hit a car in Mukalla, a port city currently under the control of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). Officials speculated that one of the slain might be a local al-Qaeda leader, but seemed unclear on the matter.
Thursday’s attack was against the town of Rafadh, in the Shabwa Province, and also hit a vehicle, which officials identified as a “militant vehicle” but likely simply means a pickup truck or some such. A third drone strike was reported against Ghif Bawazir, also in Shabwa, but no one was reported killed.
Though the US withdrew all personnel from Yemen months ago, they continue to launch drone strikes. This has been a risky strategy, with even less intelligence available on what they’re hitting than usual, and their past track record, even with boots on the ground, was mixed at best.