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Without Warning, US Bombs Yemen

Hours ahead of evacuation of US embassy, 'five missiles' from suspected drone turn truck into 'fireball'

- Jon Queally, staff writer

A Yemeni soldier stops a car at a checkpoint in a street leading to the U.S. embassy in Sanaa, Yemen, Sunday, Aug. 4, 2013. Security forces close access roads, put up extra blast walls and beef up patrols near some of the 21 U.S. diplomatic missions in the Muslim world that Washington ordered closed for the weekend over a "significant threat"of an al-Qaida attack. (AP Photo/Hani Mohammed)No travel warnings were issued for Yemen citizens ahead of a US drone attack on Tuesday.

According to ABC News, Yemeni officials said a suspected US drone "fired a missile at a car carrying four men in the al-Arqeen district of Marib province, setting it on fire and killing all of them. They believed that one of the dead is Saleh Jouti, a senior al-Qaida member."

The US bombing—the latest in a string against the poverty-stricken and politically fractured nation—comes amid a global travel warning for US citizens issued by the State Department late last week and the closure of more than twenty embassies and consulates across the Middle East and North Africa.

As the Bureau for Investivative Journalism reports:

The men were killed when as many as five missiles hit their vehicle as they drove through the central province of Marib in the early hours. All four in the car were Yemeni and the attack ‘turned [the vehicle] into a ball of fire‘, a tribal source told AFP.

On Tuesday, the US also ordered the evacuation of its embassy in Yemen's capital of Sana'a.

Acccording to the BBC, the evacuation of all "US citizens and non-emergency staff" follows what US intelligence agencies claim were "high-level intercepts" between top Al-Qaeda leaders and an influx of suspected jihadist operatives into Yemen in recent days.

"The US Department of State warns US citizens of the high security threat level in Yemen due to terrorist activities and civil unrest," read Tuesday's warning by the State Dept. "The department urges US citizens to defer travel to Yemen and those US citizens currently living in Yemen to depart immediately."

"The security threat level in Yemen is extremely high," the warning concluded, but offered no advice to Yemeni citizens on how to avoid being caught up in a US drone strike.

According to the Bureau of Investigative Journalism statistics, US drone bombings in Yemen have killed as many as 1,052 people over the last decade, with close to 200 classified as "civilians" including more than two dozen children.

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