Family to hand over militants should drone campaign cease
A tribal family harboring al-Qaeda militants east of the capital Sana’a is asking the government to halt US drone strikes in their area in order for them to deviate terrorism and evacuate foreign militants from their stronghold, said a tribal local source.
Al-Dhahab family, which briefly invaded Rada’a province backed by al Qaeda militants one year ago, are now in al-Manasih, a nearby area serving as the family stronghold that has seen a number of US drone strikes targeting suspected al-Qaeda militants.
Since President Abdu Rabu Mansoor Hadi took office in 2012, the US has escalated its drone campaign targeting suspected al-Qaeda militants, the Yemen based off shoot US considers the most active branch of the global network.
Hadi has publicly acknowledged his approval for US to strikes within the country, hailing the campaign as “having a zero margin of error”. Locals where the drones have struck said that a number of civilians have been killed, including women and children.
A number of al-Qaeda militants are said to have flocked to al-Baitha’a province, some 150 km southeast of the capital, Sana'a, when a 2012 government campaign against al-Qaeda in Abyan province dismantled their stronghold.
The government sent military reinforcements to Rada’a last week to force the militants out, said Ali Al Tairi, a tribal leader in Rada’a and one of the mediators between the government and the militants.
“The reason why the government sent reinforcement is al-Qaeda’s presence here,” Al Tairi said.
He said the reinforcement arrived to force foreigner jihadists from al-Manasih, the area al-Thahab family retreated to in January of last year.
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