Two civilians were reported killed in an alleged US drone strike in the vicinity of the village of Manaseh, close to the town of Rada’a in al-Baydah province during the afternoon of the 28th May, 2012. Between one and five militants linked to Al Qaeda were also reported to have been killed in the strike and four others were wounded.
Reuters and Yemen Post quoted a text message from the Al Qaeda affiliated group ‘Ansar al-Sharia’ which said that “the bombardment resulted in the deaths of two bystanders (civilians) and one (militant) brother.” Press TV reported that the airstrikes resulted in the death of seven people, without specifying if they were militants or civilians.
Reuters quoted local sources which said that “a U.S. drone was behind the attack”, whilst additionally stating that a local official had confirmed the “target of the strike was a provincial militant commander and his brother, both of whom survived.” Flashpoint Intel reported that “jihadi sources” had acknowledged the death of three militants.
Boston.com reported details on the alleged drone strike, stating that it was conducted against Qaid al-Dahab, a local leader of al-Qaeda who was travelling in “a convoy of three cars near the town of Rada’a, 160 km south of the capital,Sanaa.” Boston.com also stated that four militants were wounded, with Xinhua reporting that “Qaid al-Dahab, his brother Nabil and two of their bodyguards were slightly wounded in the airstrike.” An article by Agence France-Presse (AFP), published in Alarabiya, quoted a local tribal leader who stated that “Dahab survived but five of his guards were killed.” Yemen Post stated that a second senior AQAP leader had also survived the strike, but claimed that only three other militants were killed.The Long War journal identified this second leader as Nabil al-Dahab, Qaid al-Dahab’s brother. The Long War Journal further specified that the drones which were used to conduct the attack on the brothers were “Predators or the more deadly Reapers”, although this is unsurprising, as these two types of military drone were the most widely operated by the U.S. military at the time.
It is noteworthy that UPI gave a significantly different account of the attack however, reporting that the strike was made against an Al Qaeda stronghold and that “a U.S. done attacked a house in Rada’a, a city in Baydha province south of the capital Sanaa, that Yemeni intelligence services identified as a target Monday.” UPI was the only media source which stated that the strike was carried out against a house, rather than vehicles.
With regard to the status of Qaid al-Dahab and his brother Nabil, Xinhua quoted a Yemeni government official who said that “Qayid and Nabil command a branch of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) in Rada’a after the Yemeni intelligence services last February killed their brother Sheikh Tariq al-Dhahab, who was the chief of the al-Qaeda group there.”
Furthermore, an article in the Washington Post quoted a U.S. counterterrorism official who said that “it is still an open question” as to whether Qaid and Nabil al-Dahab, both related in marriage to Anwar al-Awlaki, were plotting attacks against the United States.
The incident occured in the afternoon.
Sources (15) [ collapse]
Reports of the incident mention that a convoy was targeted in the area or near the village of Manaseh (المناسح), near the town of Rada’a (رداع), possibly traveling to Al Himmah. We were unable to find the location for Al Himmah. However, the coordinates for the town of Rada’a (رداع) are: 14.415088, 44.840937; and the coordinates for the village of Manaseh (المناسح) are: 14.5797620, 44.7502190.