Skip to main content

Yemen says U.S. drone struck a wedding convoy, killing 14

From Hakim Almasmari, for CNN
December 13, 2013 -- Updated 2356 GMT (0756 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Two national security officials from Yemen confirm to CNN the deadly drone strike
  • Intelligence reports indicated convoy vehicles carried al Qaeda militants, they say
  • Yemeni security official: "This was a tragic mistake and comes at a very critical time"
  • Outraged residents in the region call on Yemeni leaders to put an end of drone strikes

Sanaa, Yemen (CNN) -- A U.S. drone mistakenly targeted a wedding convoy in Yemen's al-Baitha province after intelligence reports identified the vehicles as carrying al Qaeda militants, two Yemeni national security officials told CNN on Thursday.

The officials said that 14 people were killed and 22 others injured, nine in critical condition. The vehicles were traveling near the town of Radda when they were attacked.

"This was a tragic mistake and comes at a very critical time. None of the killed was a wanted suspect by the Yemeni government," said a top Yemeni national security official who asked not to be named because he is not authorized to talk to media.

U.S. officials declined to comment on the report.

The convoy consisted of 11 vehicles, and the officials said that four of the vehicles were targeted in the strikes. Two of the vehicles were completely damaged. Among the killed were two prominent tribal leaders within the province.

Residents in Radda were outraged about the attack and called on the Yemeni government to put an end of drone strikes in their region.

"More than 50 innocent civilians in our town have been killed by drones," said Abdullah al-Kabra, an eyewitness to the drone strike.

"All those who were killed were supportive of the governments anti-terror campaign. That will surely not be the case of their tribes and families if the government does not strongly intervene," he added.

Yemen Defense Ministry attacked

Yemeni security experts have argued that drones have on numerous occasions have directly played into al Qaeda's favor, turning peaceful tribal communities into vengeful killers.

"The attack proved the need for tighter control and regulations as far as drones are concerned. At times, they have proved deadly and destructive to civilians," said Abdul Salam Mohammed, the president of the Sanaa-based Abaad Studies & Research Center.

The drone operation in Yemen is part of a joint U.S.-Yemeni campaign against al Qaeda. Yemeni President Abdu Rabu Mansour Hadi has vowed to continue attacks against terror elements until they surrender their arms.

Militants attack hospital at Defense Ministry, killing 52

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
June 11, 2014 -- Updated 0009 GMT (0809 HKT)
Beyond military surveillance and warfare, drones have proven themselves useful in a number of ways.
June 4, 2014 -- Updated 2109 GMT (0509 HKT)
It's almost entirely illegal to use drones for money-making purposes in the United States. But a little Hollywood magic could change that.
May 22, 2014 -- Updated 1933 GMT (0333 HKT)
A bird's eye camera sweeps over the green fields of Ireland, flies over the towering Cliffs of Moher and pans the ocean hundreds of feet below.
January 24, 2014 -- Updated 1658 GMT (0058 HKT)
Marque Cornblatt's interest in drones began with a bit of playful drone-on-drone violence.
December 2, 2013 -- Updated 2257 GMT (0657 HKT)
drones amazon
Imaginations everywhere have been stoked since Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos announced his company plans to start offering 30-minute deliveries via drone-like "octocopters."
February 3, 2014 -- Updated 1503 GMT (2303 HKT)
Ice fishers in Minnesota are reeling from a recent FAA decision prohibiting beer delivery by drone.
May 14, 2014 -- Updated 0056 GMT (0856 HKT)
Drones are everywhere. They are our present and our future, especially concerning warfare, Peter Bergen writes.
March 28, 2014 -- Updated 1325 GMT (2125 HKT)
Two thirds of the world population does not have Internet access. Before Facebook can sign up the rest of world it needs to get them online.
November 18, 2013 -- Updated 1023 GMT (1823 HKT)
Apart from what they do for the military; drones have already proven themselves capable sheep herders, delivery boys, tour guides, filmmakers, archaeologists, and -- possibly -- spies.
December 6, 2013 -- Updated 1432 GMT (2232 HKT)
The evolution of drones continues.
November 20, 2013 -- Updated 1347 GMT (2147 HKT)
Flying robot Skycall guides a student around MIT.
It's your first day at university and you've got 15 minutes to get to room 9-209. Easy, right?
July 19, 2013 -- Updated 1951 GMT (0351 HKT)
Deer Trail, a small Colorado town, is considering a measure that would allow its residents to hunt for federal drones and shoot them down.
November 12, 2013 -- Updated 2024 GMT (0424 HKT)
The Federal Aviation Administration's "Road Map" to integrate drones into civilian airspace by 2015 has provoked strong reactions from privacy advocates.
November 6, 2013 -- Updated 1939 GMT (0339 HKT)
"Live every week like it's Shark Week." Those immortal words come not from the Discovery Channel's marketing department but from Tracy Morgan on "30 Rock."
August 6, 2013 -- Updated 1326 GMT (2126 HKT)
Click through our gallery to learn more about the varied appearances of drones.
May 23, 2013 -- Updated 0116 GMT (0916 HKT)
Catch up on everything you need to know about drones.
July 12, 2012 -- Updated 1220 GMT (2020 HKT)
Drone sixton-a
Drones are currently a growth industry in the aviation sector, with scores of new companies competing for a slice of the market.
February 8, 2013 -- Updated 2043 GMT (0443 HKT)
Here are some key facts about the U.S. drone program, including how and when they are used, and where.
February 15, 2013 -- Updated 1612 GMT (0012 HKT)
The use of drones to carry out military strikes is controversial, to say the least.
ADVERTISEMENT