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Drone strike kills two Qaeda suspects in Yemen

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

An alleged US drone strike killed two Al-Qaeda suspects in Yemen's southeastern province of Hadramawt Friday, an official said, a day after UN rights experts expressed "serious concern" over such attacks.

"The drone raid targeted a vehicle in which two Al-Qaeda suspects were travelling completely destroying it and killing them," the government official in Hadramawt -- an Al-Qaeda stronghold -- told AFP.

The source could not immediately identify the suspects.

The raid comes after UN human rights experts on Thursday expressed "serious concern" about US drone attacks in Yemen this month that have resulted in civilian casualties.

The UN said in a statement that 16 civilians were killed and at least 10 injured when two separate wedding processions were targeted by drones in the country on 12 December.

The victims had been mistakenly identified as members of Al-Qaeda, the UN quoted local security officials as saying.

The US military operates all unmanned aircraft flying over Yemen in support of Sanaa's campaign against Al-Qaeda and has killed dozens of militants in a sharply intensified campaign this year.

But Washington faces mounting criticism over the use of drones in its "war on terror".

Yemen is the ancestral home of Osama bin Laden and the home base of Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), which the United States views as the global jihadist network's most dangerous franchise.

Critics say drones in Yemen have claimed numerous civilian lives -- although the precise number remains unclear -- and have demanded an end to the secrecy surrounding their use.

Yemen's parliament this month voted for a ban on drone strikes, but experts say lawmakers have limited powers and are unlikely to impact Washington's campaign.

faw-lyn/bpz

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/131227/drone-strike-kills-two-qaeda-suspects-yemen