Continuing a string of regular drone strikes against targets in rural Yemen dating back to last week, US drones today attacked and killed a pair of young boys on a road outside the village of Yakla. There were no indications any combatants were anywhere near the targeted spot.
The US, naturally, did not immediately comment on the killings, while Yemeni officials insisted the road was known to sometimes be used by al-Qaeda fighters. Yakla is the village that was largely destroyed in January in a botched US ground raid.
These are the first confirmed civilian deaths in US strikes against Yemen over the past week, though a number of wounded civilians were also reported, and many of the slain have not been conclusively identified. Those other slain are all officially labeled “suspects” by the Yemeni government.
Intense US drone strikes, and the civilian casualties they inevitably cause, have led to serious anti-US sentiment in other countries like Pakistan, and while Yemen has a lot of things on their plate right now, with Saudi Arabia still invading, the US strikes continue to fuel resentment among victims’ families, giving al-Qaeda a fertile crop of people to recruit from.