On January 30th 2023, an alleged United States drone strike was reported to have hit a car in Wadi Ubaidah in the Marib Governorate of Yemen. Three people were allegedly killed who were in the car at the time, who Al Mahara and other local sources reported were “members of Al-Qaeda”, including a prominent leader in Wadi Ubaidah. @BnMhwr tweeted that one militant inside the car was Hassan al-Hadhrami, “responsible for making IEDs and explosives in al-Qaeda.” No civilian casualties were mentioned by local sources at this time.
Al Khabar Al Yamani news channel reported that the attack happened when the car was waiting in line to get petrol, at the Al-Hayra petrol station. This source and other local sources also identified the missile as a R9X Hellfire. Task and Purpose pointed out that based on images showing that the target vehicle was shredded from the roof in rather than destroyed in an explosion, it is likely the AGM-114 R9X Hellfire missile was used.
A Yemeni government official told AFP on a condition of anonymity, that “three Al-Qaeda members were killed in a strike by a drone that is believed to be American.”
AP described the after-math of the strike as “onlookers gathered around a small, four-door car coated in dried mud, peering through its shattered windows and torn-away roof at three dead men inside.”
Despite most reports attributing this to the US, there was no immediate statement from US officials. Local sources speculated that this could mean that this attack was carried out by the Special Operations Unit (JSOC) or the CIA, according to Al Khabar Al Yamani. US Central Command told Stars & Stripes that there was “no operational reporting at the time of this incident in Yemen”.
The local time of the incident is unknown.
Sources (16) [ collapse]
Reports of the incident mention a vehicle being struck in the vicinity of Al Hayra petrol station (محطة الحايرة), located in Wadi Ubaidah (وادي عبيدة) . According to research conducted by @VleckieHond, the exact coordinates for this strike are: 15.501673, 45.380729. Cross referencing source material, we can confirm the accuracy of this location.