Did US airstrike in Yemen kill a mediator by mistake?

Predator drone

Predator drone

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
While US media are focusing on a questionable attempt by the US military to expand its clandestine activities in the Muslim world, the Pentagon has quietly intensified its unmanned drone strikes on suspected militants. Although the role of the CIA has dominated the debate about these targeted killings, it is not widely known that the US Department of Defense also carries out its own air strikes, which are separate from the CIA’s. The most recent of these was most probably launched against a target in Yemen last Monday night.  The US government refuses to confirm or deny its involvement in the operation, but CBS News reported on Tuesday that the strike was aimed at “a meeting of al Qaeda operatives”. However, a subsequent news report from the Reuters news agency said that the drone strike “missed its mark” and instead killed a Yemeni government-authorized mediator who was trying to negotiate the surrender of Mohammed Jaid bin Jardan, a senior member of Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). Interestingly, Reuters soon afterwards pulled down the report, which can still be read in its Google cached version. The report was also picked up by AlterNet, which republished it. According to the report, the attack on the mediation delegation enraged locals, including relatives of bin Jardan, who began clashing with government forces and blew up a crude oil pipeline. There are also reports that Yemeni military armored vehicles and tanks engaged in the clashes. According to Shadi Hamid, deputy director of the Brookings Institution’s Doha Center, who spoke to Reuters, the drone attack will probably “feed into more latent support for AQAP”. It is worth noting that the Yemeni government has not issued a statement about the origins of the drone attack. According to local insiders, the country’s military does not possess unmanned drones.

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Expert news and commentary on intelligence, espionage, spies and spying, by Dr. Joseph Fitsanakis and Ian Allen.

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