Yemenis enraged by U.S. drone attacks

Reuters
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Devastation in the Yemeni town of Jaar, left behind in the wake of air strikes by U.S. pilotless drones.

An uptick in the strikes targeting al Qaeda cells throughout the country has aggravated discontent among Yemenis, who say the drones have already killed innocent civilians and threaten many more.

Mohammad Ali, a resident of Jaar, describes one of the strikes.

(SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) JAAR RESIDENT, MOHAMMAD ALI, SAYING:

"The aircraft came and hit the house, and when people gathered to recover bodies, it came back and struck again, even though they were innocent."

Abdulelah Saleh, another town resident, said his son was killed by the same strike. Twelve other civilians died along with him.

Local and international human rights NGOs say the drone strikes pose both physical and psychological threats to civilians.

A security void in Yemen has been exploited by the regional "al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula" faction to gain a foothold and launch attacks on Arab and Western targets.

Shoring up stability in Yemen is a priority for the United States and its Gulf allies because of its location next to the world's top oil exporter, Saudi Arabia, and to shipping lanes.

The Yemeni government allows the air strikes to take place.

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