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Obama Administration Has Launched Drone Strikes Against AQAP Suspects Who Could’ve Been Captured

Ahmad al-Sabooli holds photos of his father, mother and sister, all killed in drone strike on Sarar | Photo by Letta Tayler/Human Rights Watch and featured in report

Both Amnesty International and Human Right Watch (HRW) released reports on drone strikes launched by the United States, which included firsthand accounts of what happened from people who witnessed family, friends or others being killed or wounded.

In some of the cases, individuals allegedly known to be members of al Qaeda, Taliban or other armed groups were killed, but, in various other instances, victims killed had no connection to any alleged terrorists. A number of people even died trying to rescue the wounded and clean up the devastation after the “target” was hit.

Portions of the Amnesty International report, which focused on strikes in Pakistan, were already highlighted at Firedoglake. The following will look at portions of the report from HRW that examines multiple drone strikes in Yemen.

In Wessab on April 17, 2013, suspected local AQAP leader, Hamid al-Radmi was killed by two drones that launched “at least three Hellfire missiles” at a car. His driver and two bodyguards were killed. Al-Radmi could probably have been captured as he had been “meeting regularly with security and political officials.”

On January 23, 2013, four people were killed in a truck in al-Masnaah. Two of the passengers were “suspected AQAP members” while two others, a driver and cousin, had been hired to drive the AQAP suspects to Sanhan, just southeast of the country’s capital, Sanaa. Yemen’s Minister of Interior found they had no ties to the two AQAP suspects.

Lt. Col. Adnan al-Qadhi, who was an “officer in an elite Yemeni army unit” suspected of being a local AQAP leader, was killed along with a bodyguard on November 7, 2012, in Beit al-Ahmar. He, too, could probably have been captured. “In April 2013, AQAP issued a video in which an 8-year-old boy, held with his father, a soldier, ‘confessed’ that military officers instructed him to plant a tracking device on al-Qadhi,” the report said.

On September 2, 2012, a vehicle headed to the city of Radaa was attacked by two drones in Sarar. Twelve passengers, including three children and a pregnant woman, were killed. Apparently, the target was Abd al-Raouf al-Dahab, who had not been in the vehicle. It is unclear if he is even a member of AQAP and, after Human Rights Watch and others campaigned on behalf of victims, Yemeni authorities finally provided some compensation in June 2013 to families for the deaths.

Five men in Khashamir in Yemen were standing behind a local mosque when three Hellfire missiles were launched at them by a drone on August 29, 2012. “The strike killed four of the men instantly,” according to Human Rights Watch, “hurling their body parts across the grounds. The blast of a fourth missile hit the fifth man as he crawled away, pinning him lifeless to a wall.”

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Jane Hamsher

Jane Hamsher

Jane is the founder of Her work has also appeared on the Huffington Post, Alternet and The American Prospect. She’s the author of the best selling book Killer Instinct and has produced such films Natural Born Killers and Permanent Midnight. She lives in Washington DC.
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