A US drone launched at attack against a car overnight in Yemen’s central Maarib Province, killing four people who officials labeled “al-Qaeda suspects,” but who they also concede they have no idea as to their actual identities.
The strike destroyed the car and set the wreckage ablaze, and officials say that the victims were all burned beyond recognition, so they only have the fact that the US attacked them to base their assessment of them as “suspects” on.
While ISIS is known to have a presence in Maarib, it’s a large province, and the lack of US troops on the ground means they rely heavily on “signature strikes” in the country, meaning that they attack things that look from the air like they might conceivably be al-Qaeda.
After two years of war and chronic shortages, anyone who still has a functional car is generally seen as being part of some faction. This has meant that drone attacks in Yemen overwhelmingly target vehicles on the ground in the rural areas.