Unmanned Drones Causing Fear In Yemen

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The presence of unmanned drones in the skies over Yemen is raising fear among locals. But the situation could intensify, after the country was linked to an attempted bomb attack on a U.S. bound aircraft.

An afternoon tribal meeting in a remote desert valley in Yemen -- interrupted by the unmistakable hum of an unmanned drone.

It is hunting for members of al Qaeda -- part of a U.S.-backed government crackdown on the militant group.

The country could see an increase in the drones after last week's attempt to bomb U.S. bound aircraft was linked to Yemen.

Locals say the drones are a threat to everyone -- not just al Qaeda militants.

[Hassan Mabkhout Jabir]:
"Most of the people are concerned. The aircraft are cursing the sky day and night and we don't know what is behind this. The man in his house is scared, the farmer on his farm is scared, and the student in his school is scared and doesn't know when he will be struck."

Yemen does not actually own any drones, and one tribal chief has no doubts as to who is behind this: Washington.

[Mabkhout Al-Eradah, Tribal Chief]:
"People are worried. The feel they will be colonized like Iraq and Afghanistan."

In August, U.S. officials said they were looking to increase airstrikes in Yemen, in an attempt to emulate what they consider a successful CIA-run campaign using drones in Pakistan.

But Sana'a denies direct U.S. involvement in recent airstrikes, despite Washington becoming increasingly frank.

Back in the valley, residents say that while they don't support al Qaeda, they do not accept U.S. intervention on their soil.

[Mabkhout Al-Eradah, Tribal Chief]:
"When America is in the sky, the Almighty God is above it. And when it is on the ground, we are here and it will only see war and destruction."

Al Qaeda's Yemen branch Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula claimed responsibility for an unsuccessful attempt to blow up a U.S.-bound airliner on December 25 of last year.

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