Deadly Mistake: Airstrike Hits Yemen Wedding Convoy

But suspected al-Qaeda fighters may have been in party, says one official
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 13, 2013 9:55 AM CST
A Yemeni protestors shouts slogans denouncing air strikes by U.S. drones during a demonstration Monday, Jan. 28, 2013.   (AP Photo/Hani Mohammed)
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(Newser) – Apparently wedding parties look a lot like al-Qaeda convoys from the air? In what local media is calling a drone attack, at least 13 people were killed on their way to a wedding in Yemen yesterday; another 5 were injured, the AP reports. Reuters puts the death toll at 15. Local officials say the group was wrongly identified as an al-Qaeda convoy, but one official tells the AP that al-Qaeda fighters were suspected of being among the party. Also unclear: Yemeni officials say a US drone fired the missiles, but Reuters reports that it's not known whether a Yemeni aircraft was responsible for the attack, which left charred bodies and burnt cars on the road.

If it's the former, Reuters notes in a separate report that the attack may have been counter-productive. "These (drone) strikes create more terrorism," says one man whose brother, an innocent civilian according to the Yemeni government, was killed in a strike earlier this year after unknowingly riding in a car with suspected al-Qaeda members. "In our area there was never anyone linked to al-Qaeda. After the strike, everyone in the area started listening to al-Qaeda types, exchanging videos on mobile phones." Says a US official who served in Yemen: "Every drone death yields 50 to 60 new recruits for al-Qaeda." (Read more Yemen stories.)

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