US drone kills five in Yemen

Published Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Five people were killed in a US drone attack on Wednesday in Yemen's eastern province of Hadramout, a Yemeni security official said.

The strike targeted a house where suspected militants were hiding in the Wadi al-Ain area, said the security official. "Five militants were dead and three were injured and managed to escape," the official claimed.

Yemeni officials often claim al-Qaeda militants have been struck by airstrikes, but this is difficult to independently verify.

Yemeni investigative journalist Abdulelah Haydar Shayi has been in jail for two years at the behest of US President Barack Obama for disclosing US involvement in the country, including deadly airstrikes killing civilians and the use of cluster bombs.

Amnesty International has called for his release.

The United States has, nevertheless, stepped up its drone attacks in Yemen this year, with Wednesday's strike the fourth strike in two weeks in Hadramout province.

On Sunday, ten civilians including a 10-year-old girl were killed by an airstrike claimed by Yemen's air force, although it is largely suspected that the US carried out the airstrike.

Tribal heads met with government officials in the central city of Redaa where the attack happened, officials said.

"It's been agreed that compensation will be paid to the families of the victims," said a tribal source.

Islamist militants gained ground in Yemen and took control of several towns in the south during an uprising which forced President Ali Abdullah Saleh to step down in February.

The army, with backing from the United States, forced them out of some areas this year but they have hit back with a series of suicide bombings targeting government institutions.

(Al-Akhbar, Reuters)

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