Fifteen civilians were killed and others wounded in a drone attack in southern Yemen in which a wedding party was struck on Thursday, witnesses said.
The witnesses and a tribal source said the attack was carried out by a US drone and targeted Qaifa, near the town of Radaa, but were unable to give specific casualty figures.
The US military operates all unmanned drones flying over Yemen in support of Sanaa’s campaign against al-Qaeda and has killed dozens of militants this year.
Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) remains active despite Yemeni military operations and the drone strikes targeting its leaders.
The number of dead from US drone strikes in Yemen remains unclear and estimates vary widely.
According to a Human Rights Watch report published in October, the US has carried out 80 targeted operations in Yemen since 2009, including strikes from drones, warplanes and cruise missiles – killing at least 473 people.
According to the New America Foundation, a Washington-based think-tank that has tried to keep track of the numbers, there have been 93 strikes since 2002 which have killed between 684 and 891 people, among them 64 and 66 civilians.
However, the US counts any male of “fighting age” as a militant in its casualty count, regardless of their actual involvement with AQAP or other groups.