At least twenty people have been killed in two assassination attacks by US unmanned aerial vehicles in central Yemen, where al-Qaeda militants have been locked in deadly clashes with fighters from the Houthi Ansarullah movement.
Tribal sources and witnesses said on Tuesday that the overnight drone raids targeted suspected al-Qaeda positions near the town of Rada’, situated 130 kilometers (85 miles) southeast of the capital, Sana’a.
The US military launched a similar attack in the same area on October 26, killing at least a dozen people.
On October 25, three people were killed when a US drone fired several missiles at suspected al-Qaeda militants in the Manasseh area of Yemen’s central province of al-Bayda.
Washington acknowledges using assassination drones as part of its official targeted killing campaign in Muslim countries to eliminate individuals whom he considers militants. However, it does not comment publicly on the individual cases of the aerial bombing campaign.
While, the US administration claims that its assassination drones target al-Qaeda militants, local sources say civilians have been the main victims of the non-UN-sanctioned airstrikes.
In February, the Human Rights Watch (HRW) called on Washington to investigate a fatal drone strike on a wedding ceremony in Yemen in December 2013. The HRW said in a report, dubbed “A Wedding That Became a Funeral: US Drone Attack on Marriage Procession in Yemen,” that the December 12, 2013 attack killed a dozen men and wounded at least 15 others, including the bride.
Last October, the HRW said the US drone strikes in Yemen had led to the death of many civilians over the past years in a blatant violation of international law.