The Obama administration has recently taken part in a joint operation with Yemeni forces that has produced the highest death toll of any confirmed drone strike in Yemen so far this year, according to sources from the Associated Press (AP).
Yemen’s state media claims that the victims of the attack were among the most dangerous elements of Al-Qaeda, and that the strike was based on confirmed intelligence that the targeted individuals were planning to target Yemen’s civil and military institutions. Yemeni officials claim that the target site, located in remote mountainous regions in the country’s troubled south, was one of the few examples of permanent infrastructure setup by Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) to train fighters and store armaments.
The strike allegedly took place with regional cooperation and assistance from Saudi Arabia, and due to official secrecy provisions, the United States does not have a legal obligation to acknowledge or comment on the strikes undertaken by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).
The exact death toll varies from source to source, but more than a dozen people have been killed at minimum, with at least three civilian causalities. Witnesses say that a car carrying the alleged militants was hit with a missile as it drove by a vehicle carrying civilians, who were also killed. A second strike on the area was launched shortly after.