Up to eight members of Al Qaeda were reported killed in an alleged US drone strike on a moving vehicle in Shabwa province, on the desert road between Shabwa and Ma’rib governorates, on April 7/8, 2012. There are currently no known reports of civilian harm.
The Wall Street Journal reported that the target was AQAP number three, Qasim al-Raimi. It reported that “After nightfall Saturday, Mr Raimi and three followers started driving on a road out of Shebwa toward Marib,” residents said.
Around 10 pm, a missile struck the road near their car, but missed the vehicle, according to two local security officials.
Reuters similarly reported that the rockets were fired by the US drones in the area at the suspected Al Qaeda vehicles but missed their original target, hitting the road instead. A sources close to Al Qaeda told Xinhua anonymously that “unmanned U.S. drones struck some of our sites in Shabwa, but nobody was killed in the air bombing.”
However, according to an unnamed tribal chief, the strike “killed eight Al Qaeda suspects”, who he identified as five Yemenis and three Arab foreigners.
Alarabiya reported likewise stating the same numbers of dead, adding that US spy planes were also flying in the region. Long War Journal wrote that the US drone attacks were successful, killing 8 Al Qaeda fighters. A tweet from @SUHFNET_YE reported that five people were killed.
“Al Qaeda militants were aboard a vehicle on their way from Shabwa to (nearby) Marib province when a US drone fired a missile at their vehicle, killing them all.” The chief also reported that drones were seen “flying over several areas in Shabwa, especially those which are Al-Qaeda strongholds — Rawdah, Huta, and Azzan”.
The Yemen Air Force reportedly lacks the technical ability to carry out such a strike, indicating the US was responsible.
The incident occured at 22:00:00 local time.
Sources (15) [ collapse]
Reports of the incident mention that a convoy of Al Qaeda vehicles was targeted as it was travelling on a desert road between Shabwa and Ma’rib governorates. The generic coordinates for the area between these two governorates are: 15.177232, 45.718462. Due to limited information and satellite imagery available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further.