An alleged US drone strike killed two to four people, including one civilian (child) and two to three Al Qaeda militants from the AQAP (Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula) branch, and injured one to three other militants in Beit Al Ahmar in the town of Sanhan in the Sana’a Governorate on the November 7th, 2012 in the evening.
Mareb Press reported that a child related to Al Qaeda was killed in the attack. No further information about him is known. Fox news provided the lowest estimate of people killed at two. Xinhua, AntiWar, and @AlMazadeenNews alleged that three people were killed in the strike. Adnan al-Qadhi, Radwan al-Hashidi, and Rabiee Lahib were reportedly the victims of this incident. Alternatively, Mareb Press reported that a child related to al-Qadhi was killed in the attack and that Rabiee Lahib was injured, not killed. Therefore, the highest possible death toll including the child and Rabiee Lahib added up to four deaths in total.
Adnan al-Qadhi’s death was confirmed by his brother to Human Rights Watch and the family confirmed it to Abdulrazzak al-Jamal, an expert of Islamic group affairs who spoke with Xinhua. Al-Qadhi was reportedly an Al Qaeda commander who was wanted for bombing the U.S. embassy in Sana’a in 2008. He also served for over two decades in the First Armored Division of Yemen and fought in Afghanistan. According to Anchorage Daily News, his home was fitted with Al Qaeda’s signature black flag that flew on a distinct mural outside of his home, which dispelled certain doubts about his affiliation to AQAP. The strike allegedly occurred at 6:45pm in the evening while Adnan al-Qadhi leaned out of his car to take a phone call from his wife. His last word was reportedly ‘Marhaba’ meaning Hello in Arabic.
Family members of al-Qadhi told McClathy Newspapers that al-Qadhi had already been arrested and released in 2008 after the embassy attack and wondered why he hadn’t been taken into custody alive rather than being killed. “He may have supported Al Qaeda, but he wasn’t taking part in activities,” said Abdulrazzaq Jamal, a Yemeni journalist and analyst who met with Qadhi shortly before his death. “There were connections, but there wasn’t perceptible tangible support.” “We could have made sure he turned himself in,” said Himyar al Qadhi, Adnan’s brother. “If Adnan was guilty of any crime, then arrest him, put him on trial.”
Radwan al-Hashidi, al-Qadhi’s bodyguard, was standing outside of the car when he “was hit by metal fragments in his mouth” and died upon arriving at the hospital. Arafat Ali Mawsa reportedly heard the explosion while returning from a wedding and attempted to drive al-Hashidi to the hospital while he was “still talking.”
There are no further details about Rabiee Lahib’s death except that he was also allegedly a bodyguard of al-Qadhi. However, Human Rights Watch reported that he missed the strike and was killed in another which occurred two months later. The information remains unclear.
In terms of those injured, Human Rights Watch offered the lowest number with one injured whereas Big Think and Mareb Press reported that three were injured including Rabiee Lahib. No further information is available. As mentioned above, it is unsure whether Rabiee Lahib was killed or injured in the incident.
The strike was allegedly from a US drone rather than a Yemeni warplane as the timing, after dark, and its precise nature make it unlikely to be Yemeni as they have previously said that Yemen did not have the capacity to undertake precision strikes or fly after dark. Furthermore, Human Rights Watch confirmed that the missiles were Hellfire missiles that were consistent with drone strikes. An official from Al-Daylami Air Force Base in Sana’a confirmed that the strike could not be carried out by a Yemeni warplane. This incident occurred the day after Barack Obama’s re-election.
A video was released from Ansar al Sharia, a branch of AQAP, showing a ‘confession’ by a father, Hafizallah al-Kulaibi, of being a drone spy and the role of his son, Barq al-Kulaibi, who was 8 years old, in planting chips on Adnan al-Qadhi to be tracked by a drone. The video ended stating that ‘every filmed spy is killed after he has been filmed.’The father reported that he was offered 50,000 Yemeni rial, the equivalent of 233$, to make his son plant missile guiding chips on al-Qadhi.
The drone strike was carried out in Beit Al Ahmar, in the Sanhan region, 15 kilometers southeast of Sana’a. The area is home to the former President Saleh. Adam Baron, a Yemen-based freelance journalist, noted that an elementary school was not far from the location of the strike.
The incident occured in the evening.
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Reports of the incident mention that the strike targeted a vehicle on a dirt road in the village of Al Sirin (السرين), ‘hundreds of meters away’ from the village Beit Al Ahmar (بيت الأحمر), birthplace of former Yemen president Ali Abdullah Saleh. Journalist Adam Baron, who reported on the incident, posted a photograph on twitter of Saleh’s compound (Fort Afash) and stated that it was 2 minutes away from the site of the strike, and that it could be seen from that location. Due to limited information and satellite imagery available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the precise location of the strike. The coordinates for the village of Al Sirin (السرين) are: 15.1136330, 44.3675950.