The US killed eight people, including two Saudi al Qaeda fighters, in a drone strike yesterday in Marib province in central Yemen. The strike is the first recorded in Yemen in 16 days.
The CIA-operated, remotely piloted Predators or the more deadly Reapers launched two missiles at a car as it traveled in the Abieda Valley in Marib province, according to The Associated Press and Reuters.
Two of those killed “were known al Qaeda militants of Saudi nationality,” AP reported. One of the Saudis is thought to be Ismail bin Jamil. Tribesmen blocked the road from Marib to the capital of Sana’a to protest the strikes, according to Reuters.
Today’s strike is the second this year, and the first in Yemen since Jan. 3, when US drones killed local AQAP commander Mukbel Abbad and two fighters in an attack as their vehicle traveled in the town of Rada’a in the central Yemen province of Baydah.
The US conducted five drone strikes in Yemen between Dec. 24, 2012 and Jan. 3, 2013. Prior to the Dec. 24 attack, the last recorded attack by the US in Yemen took place on Nov. 7, 2012.
The US launched 41 drone strikes against AQAP and its political front, Ansar al Sharia, in Yemen in 2012. The previous year, the US launched 10 drone and air strikes against the al Qaeda affiliate.
[For more information on the US airstrikes in Yemen, see LWJ report, Charting the data for US air strikes in Yemen, 2002 – 2013.]