Report: Yemen hides U.S. strike details

Dec. 25, 2012 at 11:18 AM
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SANAA, Yemen, Dec. 25 (UPI) -- Officials in Yemen, where hostility toward the United States is widespread, hide civilian deaths in U.S. airstrikes from the public, The Washington Post said.

U.S. President Barack Obama's administration also keeps silent, neither confirming nor denying any involvement, the newspaper said, noting it is standard practice.

The newspaper cites a number of incidents, including one on Sept.2 in which 11 civilians were killed, after two missiles hit a truck near the town of Radda. The Yemeni government claimed those killed were al-Qaida operatives killed in an airstrike by its own Soviet-era jet -- but officials and tribal leaders later said the United States had carried out the attack, the newspaper said.

U.S. officials last week acknowledged last week for the first time it was an American strike, the Post said. The officials, whose names were not reported, said it a Defense Department aircraft -- either a drone or a warplane -- fired on the truck.

The Pentagon and U.S. officials in Yemen and Washington declined to comment, the report said.

Two survivors and relatives of some victims of the attack have told Western journalists they would be willing to join with al-Qaida.

"Our entire village is angry at the government and the Americans," the Post quoted one man, identified only as Mohammed, as saying. "If the Americans are responsible, I would have no choice but to sympathize with al-Qaida because al-Qaida is fighting America."

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