On July 3rd 2012, an alleged US drone strike killed two to six members of Al Qaeda and injured two in a car traveling in the Beihan district of the Shabwah Province. Witnesses stated the drone was American, a claim later supported by news reports. Fox News quoting an official identified two of the dead suspected operatives as Fahd Saleh al-Anjaf al Harithi and Hassan Ali al-Ishaqi.
The death toll ranged from two to six. The Yemen Post and Naharnet published reports of three people killed in the strike. Independent human rights and political activist Ahmed Hashed tweeted that five Al Qaeda members were killed in the strike. China’s Xinhua News agency and Antara News both reported that five Al Qaeda operatives were killed and two injured when a drone fired three missiles. The Suhail Channel later tweeted that six individuals believed to be in Al Qaeda were killed in the strike. Marib Press and Sahafnet both described two of the dead as Al Qaeda operatives but did not provide names. Aden-al-Ghad News quoted witnesses describing the drone as a United States military warplane that struck and destroyed a saloon car on a road connecting Asilan and Bayhan in the Shabwa governorate. This description was supported by witnesses interviewed by Al-Arabiya News.
Witnesses claimed that “several bodies were scattered next to the bombed car. Army soldiers rushed immediately and imposed a cordon around the whole area”. Yemen Post quoted a source who said the car had weapons. “The suspects in the car were killed and explosions of the weapons were heard after the strike,” they added.
A more detailed report was later released by Fox News, which credited a U.S. drone with the deadly strike. The Fox News report cited a Yemeni military official who told the Associated Press that the two al-Qaeda members who were killed helped to train future al-Qaeda operatives. A Reuters report claimed that four people were killed in the strike and a Yemeni security officer, speaking on anonymity, believed that two cars were struck by missiles.
The incident occured in the evening.
Sources (21) [ collapse]
Geolocation notes (1) [ collapse]
Reports of the incident mention that the strike targeted two vehicles in the Bayhan (بيحان) district of the Shabwa (شبوة) governorate. One source also mentions the Harib (حريب) area, this however most likely refers to the Harib (حريب) district in neighbouring governorate Ma’rib (مَأْرِب). The generic coordinates for the district Bayhan (بيحان) are: 14.734151, 45.720121. Due to limited information and satellite imagery available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further.