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Yemen: Anger as 13 Civilians Killed by US Drone Strike

Categories: Middle East & North Africa, U.S.A., Yemen, Digital Activism, International Relations, Media & Journalism, Politics, War & Conflict

Another US drone attack struck Yemen on Sunday in Al-Baydha, targeting the usual “suspected” militants. In what has now become a recurring theme, the target missed and according to local reports [1] 13 civilians, including three women, were killed.

Josh Begly, who developed an application that tracks US drones which Apple had rejected [2], tweets:

@joshbegley: [3] In the 6 days since Apple rejected my Drones+ app, there have been 5 days of drone strikes in Yemen & Pakistan.

Journalist Iona Craig, who works in Yemen, notes:

@ionacraig [4]: What this should say: ‘US drone strike misses target, kills three women': http://bit.ly/PBj8gN [5] #Yemen

She tweets a Yemeni official's reaction:

‏@ionacraig [6]: US signature strikes in #Yemen:”We're still investigating who these men are & in what way they were linked to al Qaeda” http://bit.ly/R9QmTg [7]

Netizens were baffled by the conflicting reports, which initially stated that the attack was by a US drone then somehow the story changed to a Yemeni war plane instead.
Glen Greenwald, a columnist for the Guardian, asks:

@ggreenwald [8]: Was the civilian-killing attack in Yemen on Sunday from a US drone (http://is.gd/sVTw5d [9] ) or a Yemeni war plane (http://is.gd/wi8McU [10] )?

He later clarifies:

‏@ggreenwald [11]: @ionacraig Reuters is now also claiming it's a Yemeni plane, citing officials and “residents” http://is.gd/YJ60AI [12]

Iona Craig replies:

@ionacraig [13]: @ggreenwald Unsurprising Reuters call it US drone when saying militants killed: http://bit.ly/OLsxlb [14] switch to Yemeni when civilians dead.

However, Micah Zenko points:

@MicahZenko [15]: It was a US drone strike that killed 13 civilians in #Yemen, 3 Yemeni officials tell @HakimAlmasmari bit.ly/REJ4HJ [16]

Yet, Yemeni Twitter users are all too familiar with this kind of stories. Ibrahim Mothana tweeted an article about a Wikileaks cable which exposed former president Ali Abdullah Saleh's secret deal to let US launch missile attacks on Al Qaeda, but claim that they were Yemeni attacks.

@imothanaYemen: [17]

Wondering how a US drones turns into Yemeni warplanes?! http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/dec/03/wikileaks-yemen-us-attack-al-qaida [18] … #Yemen

A Yemeni investigative journalist, Abdul Ilah Shayi, was jailed [19] after claiming US involvement in a missile attack in Al-Ma'jala which killed 55 people. He was due to be released under a presidential decree on February 1, 2011, but was kept in detention as a result of direct pressure from the White House after president Obama's phone call [20] to Saleh.

Yemenis have expressed their anger [21] and objection [22] towards US drone strikes in Yemen.

@aliaeshaq [23]: 11 civilians killed in the latest drone strike in Baida, #Yemen. Say NO to drones! The world has to know these are human beings! #NoDrones

@al3ini: [24] No #drones … They kill Yemenis without legal justification #Yemen

@Ulfatak [25]: I'm a civilian. You're a civilian. 1 civilian death is 1 too many. #US #Drones #Yemen

@imothanaYemen: [26] Brennan's “legal, ethical, and wise” drone strikes in Yemen just killed 13 civilians, including 3 women & 3 kids http://edition.cnn.com/2012/09/03/world/meast/yemen-drone-strike/ [16] #US

@Sarah_Sanaa: [27] Dear #Americans do u know how #Obama is protecting u? By killing more #Yemen -is do u think their kids will grow 2 want peace? #Drones #US

A #NoDrones [28] campaign was launched in May and Yemeni Twitter users are once again using the hashtag #Nodrones [29] to express their anger and demand an end to US strikes in Yemen.