US Drone strike kills three people Yemeni locals said to be ‘militants’

A US drone strike killed Monday afternoon three people local officials believed they were al-Qaeda members but didn’t identify any.

The drone strike hit the “suspects’” car in Qatn district of Hadramout, Yemen’s largest province where militants that government say to be al-Qaeda operatives have been battling with local government in more than one front.

Local website Barakishnet and Almasdaronline quoted local sources as saying that three suspected al-Qaeda people were killed by a drone strike Monday afternoon. They didn’t identify the killed people.

Riyadh Al Jahwari, the director of Qatn district, talked to Gulf News correspondent that a drone  strike hit three people he described to be “suspected al-Qaida militants”. Al Jahwari said that Qatn hospital received the three dead bodies but he didn’t identify them. AP also had similar account.

A security official in Sana’a told me that a drone strike killed three people believed to be al-Qaeda militants. “One of them [three people killed] is Abdullah Bin Hamood al-Saiari, a big al-Qaeda leader,” said the official, quoting a local man from Qatn district as saying. He didn’t identify the other two people. The information about the identity of one of the three people killed couldn’t be verified immediately.

The Yemeni government rarely give details about drone strike operations in the country.

The US has increased its drone campaign against militants in Yemen with president Abdu Rabu Mansoor Hadi’s full consent. Hadi described the drone strike to have a zero margin of error. The recent drone strikes have killed senior al-Qaeda operatives but have also killed civilians. Since last August, the drone strikes have targeted low level al-Qaeda suspects and in one occasion have targeted civilians, according to locals and security officials.

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