US Drone Strike Kills Four ‘Al-Qaeda Suspects’ in Yemen

Attack Destroyed a Car, Killing All Within

The ever-escalating number of US drone strikes against Yemen continued to mount today, with Yemeni security officials reporting that an apparent US strike destroyed a car in the central Maarib Province, killing four people within.

The slain were, as always, labeled “al-Qaeda suspects” by Yemeni officials, though none were publicly identified. Locals say that two of the slain four were members of the tribe that lives in the area of the attack, but they were unsure at all who the other two were.

This has been a recurring problem with the US airstrikes, scores of which have hit Yemen in just the past few months; in almost no case are any of the victims ever conclusively identified, and while officially the bulk are labeled “suspects,” there is no reason to really believe they are all complicit in anything in particular.

Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) holds territory in several parts of Yemen, and has ties to a lot of tribes, which means it’s really difficult to conclusively disprove suspicion that any slain anonymous tribesman might conceivably be linked to them. At the same time, only a couple of the people killed have ever been named publicly, and AQAP appears none the worse off for the attacks.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.