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Ear to the Ground

U.S. Puts Drones in Yemen in Overdrive

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Posted on Sep 6, 2012
DonkeyHotey (CC BY 2.0)

Ten civilians were slain in Yemen over the weekend by the Obama administration’s unmanned drones, weapons that have killed 29 people in a little over a week and nearly 200 this year. But you won’t hear about them or the government’s unofficial war in Yemen at the Democratic National Convention this week.

The CIA runs one of the Obama administration’s two drone campaigns currently under way in Yemen. The military’s Joint Special Operations Command runs the other. Together, they have staged a reported 43 strikes since the beginning of 2011, killing 274 people in that time. But it’s hard to tell how many of the dead were combatants, as the U.S. “counts all military-age males in a strike zone as combatants,” according to The New York Times.

—Posted by Alexander Reed Kelly.

Danger Room at Wired:

The latest attack came in Hadramout province, where a barrage of eight missiles slammed into a suspected militant safe house on Wednesday, killing six people. “The exact target of today’s strike has not been disclosed; no senior AQAP leaders have been reported killed in the attack,” the Long War Journal notes. Most of those killed were fresh recruits; only one could be considered an extremist veteran, a security official tells CNN. Several others were able to escape the hideout alive.

On Sunday, at least 10 civilians were not so fortunate. They were killed in a strike gone awry near the town of Rada’a in al-Baitha province. An aircraft — believed to be an American drone — fired a pair of missiles at a vehicle supposedly carrying a local AQAP leader. One of the missiles instead hit a nearby minibus.  A 10-year-old girl and her mother were among the dead. “Families attempted to carry the victims’ corpses to the capital, Sana’a, to lay them in front of the residence of newly elected President Abdurabu Hadi, but were sent back by local security forces,” according to CNN.

“You want us to stay quiet while our wives and brothers are being killed for no reason. This attack is the real terrorism,” one Rada’a resident tells the network. Members of parliament and Yemeni human rights groups were quick to condemn the killings, as well.

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