Over the weekend, a US drone strike against the Jawf Province destroyed a car, killing all four passengers within. The slain were referred to as “suspected al-Qaeda members” by local tribesmen, though as usual none of them were identified by name.
Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) has been gaining territory nationwide during the Saudi invasion, but is not reported to be particularly active in Jawf Province, which is in the far north of the country. Rather, the group’s main holdings are on the southern coast.
There was no official comment from the US on the attack, though a strike against Jawf would be noteworthy. With no US troops on the ground spotting targets, US drones have mostly stuck to attacking the city of Mukalla, the largest city taken over by AQAP.
The area around Jawf has also seen fighting in the ongoing Saudi invasion of Yemen. Though the US is participating in that war, it has tried to keep its drone campaign restricted to areas that aren’t active battlegrounds, likely to prevent any incidents of killing pro-Saudi forces, many of whom are Sunni Islamist tribal factions that also work with AQAP on occasion.