Wedding Party Killed in Yemen Airstrike; Likely U.S. Drone

| by Allison Geller

A 15-person wedding party in Yemen was killed in an air strike, a fatal mistake that tribal and local media sources blame on a drone.

Reuters reported via Yahoo News that the group was on their way to a wedding when they were mistaken for al al-Qaeda convoy.

“An air strike missed its target and hit a wedding car convoy, ten people were killed immediately and another five who were injured died after being admitted to the hospital,” a security official said.

The strike took place on Thursday in the village of Qaifa, in Yemen's central al-Bayda province, Al Jazeera reported. The town is a known for its active al-Queda presence.

Another five people were injured in the attack. There were reportedly charred bodies and cars on fire left on the road.

On Monday, at least three more civilians in eastern Yemen were killed by missiles fired from a United States drone.

Yemen is one of the countries where the U.S. acknowledges its use of drones, as it considers the al-Queda branch in Yemen to be among the most threatening in the world. The U.S. does not comment on individual strikes, however.

Last week the U.S. carried out an attack on Yemen's defense ministry in the capital, Sanaa, because an unmanned aircraft was being operated there. The strike killed 52 people, including soldiers, civilians and foreigners, BBC reported.

U.S. air strikes in Yemen are on the rise. Human Rights Watch released a report on U.S. drone strikes in Yemen this October, citing six targeted killing operations in Yemen in which 82 people were killed, 70 percent of which were civilians.

Russia Today summarized the report.

“President Obama says the U.S. is doing its utmost to protect civilians from harm in these strikes. Yet in the six cases we examined, at least two were a clear violation of the laws of war,” wrote Humans Rights Watch Senior Researcher Letta Tayler.

Moqbil Muhammad Ali, who lost 28 relatives in an attack on Al-Majalah village, told Human Rights Watch, “I have a question for America: Despite having drones and spy planes and all of this technology, can’t America differentiate between a terrorist and an innocent civilian?”

Sources: Yahoo News, Al Jazeera, BBC, Russia Today