Ob316 – April 17 2013
♦ 4-6 people killed
♦ 2-7 people reported injured
At least four people were killed in the second strike of the month. Two missiles destroyed a house in a pre-dawn strike near Wana. The house was in either Babar Ghar or Sararogha village, depending on reports. There were fears the death toll could rise as people reportedly remained trapped in the rubble. Locals dug dead and injured out of the wreckage but the rescue work was reportedly delayed out of fear the drones would strike again. Reports alleged all those killed were militants. But there were conflicting accounts of which militant group was occupying the house. Several reports said members of the Pakistani Taliban or TTP were killed. One report said Bobarh, a local TTP commander, was killed along with five unnamed militants. However one local security official said the dead were al Qaeda fighters.
This was the second drone strike since Pakistan’s civilian government surrendered authority to a caretaker administration in the build up to elections on May 11. The strike came the morning after Peter Maurer, president of the International Committee of the Red Cross, criticised the use of drones outside conflict zones. Using drones themselves is not a problem, he told reporters in Geneva. ‘But if a drone is used in a country where there is no armed conflict…there is a problem.’ He was speaking with journalists on his return from a four-day visit to Washington where he met with President Obama.
Location: Babar Ghar or Sararogha village, South Waziristan
References: IANS, The Nation (Pakistan), Dawn, al Jazeera, al Arabiya, Xinhua, AFP, UPI, The News, The News Tribe, Frontier Post, Associated Press, Express Tribune
Related article: Obama terror drones: CIA tactics in Pakistan include targeting rescuers and funerals
May 18 2013
♦ 4-7 killed
♦ Some reported wounded
A possible US drone strike hit a vehicle killing at least four people. The target was reportedly a truck filled with explosives. The dead were allegedly militants although a ‘local dignitary‘ told AFP he could not say whether the four ‘were Islamist militants’. Local media reported the strike killed seven people ‘suspected of links to al Qaeda’. And a senior leader, Jalal Bl’eed (aka Talal bin Aidi), was reportedly killed in the attack. However al Mahfad district’s security chief Colonel Ahmed al Rab’i said: ‘We don’t have sufficient information to either assert or deny Bl’eed’s death.’ And Al Khader Abdulla, a leader of a local state-backed civilian militia, said Bl’eed’s family denied his death in the attack.
The strike hit to the north of Jaar, an area previously dominated by al Qaeda who took and held swathes of southern and central Yemen in 2011. They were driven out by Yemeni troops with US air support in 2012. The attack came before dawn indicating US forces were responsible. The Yemen Air Force had been called ‘barely functional‘ and in 2012 President Hadi declared it incapable of flying at night, let alone launching precision strikes. On May 13 a Yemeni Su-22 fighter-bomber exploded in mid-air during a training flight over Sanaa, killing the pilot.
Type of strike: Possible US drone strike
Location: Al Mahfad region, Abyan province
References: AFP, Associated Press, al Masdar Online (Ar), Reuters, Australian Associated Press, ANI, Xinhua, Yemen Times, Aden Post (Ar)
May 20 2013
♦ 2 killed
The second strike in three days killed two men in central Yemen. Two alleged al Qaeda members were killed ‘as they left a farm on a motorbike’ according to Yemen’s defence ministry website. It named the dead as Abd Rabbo Mokbal Mohammed Jarallah al Zouba and Abbad Mossad Abbad Khobzi. Yemeni media reported it could not independently verify their connection to al Qaeda. A Yemeni official did not tell Reuters who was behind the attack however a precision strike on a moving vehicle would appear to have been beyond Yemen’s ’barely functional‘ air force. On May 13 a Yemeni Su-22 fighter-bomber exploded in mid-air during a training flight over Sanaa, killing the pilot and injuring as many as 22 people on the ground.
Related article: Arab Spring brings steep rise in US attacks in Yemen
For all Bureau databases of US action in the covert war on terror click here.
Sign up for email alerts from the Bureau here.