US Drones Bomb Yemen for Second Time in Two Days

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Common Dreams

US Drones Bomb Yemen for Second Time in Two Days

Twenty-five people killed on Sunday a day after separate attack kills at least fifteen others, including civilians

An effigy of a U.S. drone is burned during a protest in Sanaa last year. (Photo: Hani Mohammed/AP)

An effigy of a U.S. drone is burned during a protest in Sanaa last year. (Photo: Hani Mohammed/AP)

Missiles from a suspected U.S. drone (or drones) bombed Yemen for the second day in a row on Sunday, with reports indicating that between 25 to 30 people were killed in the attack.

On Saturday, a similiar airstrike is thought to have killed fifteen people.

Media outlets, including Reuters and Agence France-Presse, cited "tribal members" who said that those killed in Sunday's attack were al-Qaeda militants.

As independent journalist and commentator Kevin Gosztola responded, however, claims like these should be met with deep skepticism:

From the Reuters report:

[Yemen's] defence ministry said Sunday's strikes targeted a remote mountainous region of the south. Its website quoted an official source on the high security committee as saying that they were based on information that "terrorist elements were planning to target vital civilian and military installations".

Similar wording was used to justify Saturday's strike, in which three nearby civilians were also killed.

The defence ministry did not specify the nature of the strikes, but in both cases local sources said unmanned drone aircraft had been circulating the target areas beforehand.

The US acknowledges using drone strikes to target AQAP in Yemen, but it does not comment on the practice.

Local tribal sources said about 25 bodies had been transferred from the sites of Sunday's attacks to nearby towns. They said at least three separate strikes had taken place after dawn prayers, all targeting al-Qaida camps.

Some Yemeni officials who spoke with CNN's correspondent, however, indicated "there is growing frustration within the government about the lack of clarity and expressed concern that some of the information being reported by the military may be propaganda."

As one official, who asked not to be identified, told CNN: "I'm worried this is an attempt to convince Yemenis that the U.S. and Yemen have turned a corner and are in the process of destroying AQAP... At this hour, the numbers of militants being reported as being killed keeps changing, and we still aren't sure if any civilians have been killed or wounded in these strikes."

"Yemenis are smart enough to doubt initial reports of this type," he added. "If this does turn out to be exaggeration, it will make the people here trust their government even less than they do and fuel growing anger over the drone program."

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