People inspect the wreckage of a car hit by an air strike in the central Yemeni province of al-Bayda April 19, 2014. (Reuters)
Dozens are reportedly dead in Yemen, including at least three civilians, as the result of a series of drone strikes that started in the southern part of the country on Saturday and is alleged to still be occurring two days later.
By noontime in Washington, DC on Monday, the Associated Press reported that 55 Al-Qaeda militants were among those that had been killed in an hours-long series of strikes that targeted a training camp operated by the group, according to Yemen's interior ministry. The United States is alleged to have carried out the strikes using unmanned aerial vehicles, or drones, but does not legally have to acknowledge any operations conducted by its Central Intelligence Agency and has not commented.
Among the 55 believed to be killed in that series of strikes, the AP reported, were three senior but unnamed Al-Qaeda leaders. The AFP also corroborated that claim by reporting that witnesses on the scene in Shabwa province early Monday said three alleged militants were indeed killed when a missile struck the car the men were traveling in that morning.
At the same time on Monday, an anonymous Yemeni government official briefed on the strikes told CNN that the strikes had yet to cease and that at, by his count, at least 30 alleged militants had been killed. Statistics regarding the death toll remain fluid, but preliminary reports concerning the strikes suggest that the number of those killed since Saturday is in the dozen.
Yemen's Saba news agency reported that a drone strike in the central province of Bayda on Saturday killed 10 suspected militants and three civilians. A Yemeni military officials added to the AP that a car carrying the alleged militants was struck by a missile as it drove by a vehicle carrying civilians, and an eyewitness who survived the attack said a second strike occurred soon after. Three civilians were injured in addition to those slain in that attack, the AP reported.
"Minutes after the first attack, a second attack took place, killing three of my friends," eyewitness Salem al-Kashm told CNN after. "The drone then kept going in circles after the attack to ensure that none of the militants were able to escape."
On Sunday, US drones reportedly targeted an Al-Qaeda training camp in the nearby province of Abyan and killed another 30.