U.S. drone strike in Yemen kills suspected al-Qaida militants
SANAA, Yemen — A drone strike in southern Yemen killed at least nine suspected al-Qaida militants and three civilians on Saturday, authorities said, as part of America's ongoing strikes in the country against what it considers the terror network's most dangerous local group.
A Yemeni military official said the strike hit a vehicle carrying the militants in the Sawmaa area in the al-Bayda province as another car carrying civilians passed by.
A security official investigating the strike said one of the civilian survivors said the strike hit a white SUV, tossing it about 20 yards away. He said the survivor said they fled the flying debris and took shelter while “explosions” continued for another 30 minutes.
Then, the survivor said, another drone fired neared their car, killing one of his companions and wounding him.
A medical official said that the strike had killed three civilians and wounded three.
Later Saturday, Yemen's Supreme Security Council described the attack in a statement as an airstrike carried out by Yemeni authorities. It said the attack killed 10 members of al-Qaida who planned to attack “vital civilian and military institutions” in the area. It said the strike wounded one other person in the car.
The committee said three civilians died in the attack while five were wounded in the other car.
The conflicting details could not be immediately reconciled.
The United States considers Yemen's branch of al-Qaida, known as Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, to be the most dangerous in the world.
The group is blamed for a number of unsuccessful bomb plots aimed at Americans, including an attempt to bring down an airliner with an explosive hidden in the bomber's underwear.