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Eid Terror in Yemen Amidst US Drone Strikes

Yemen received the first day of Eid (the Muslim holiday celebrating the end of the Islamic month of Ramadan) on August 8 2013, the same way it had received it on Christmas day, with US drone strikes, yet this time it was not with two strikes but three.

The US closed 19 of it's embassies across countries in the Middle East and North Africa over a “terror threat”, which was intercepted by the CIA, between Al- Qaeda’s head Ayman Al-Zawahri and Nasir Al-Wuhayshi, the Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) head in Yemen. The US also issued a warning to it's citizens to leave the country and flew its embassy staff to Germany. The UK, France and Germany followed suit, closing their embassies in Yemen and issuing terror warnings to their nationals to leave the country.

A few days before Eid, on August 5, Sanaa residents were awoken to the buzzing sound of what they suspected to be a US drone which was later identified as a surveillance plane hovering over the skies of the capital, terrifying its residents.

Photo of the US surveillance plane mistaken for a US Drone circling over the capital Sana'a. (by Yemeni photographer: Hafez Aljbahi

Photo of the US surveillance plane mistaken for a US Drone circling over the capital Sana'a. (by Yemeni photographer: Hafez Aljbahi

Activist and Sanaa resident Osamah Alfakih also tweeted:

A video of the US plane which was circling the Yemeni capital, Sanaa, for days was uploaded to YouTube via YouthStandYEMEN:

A few days later, on August 8th, the first day of Eid three drone strikes were reported, two in Hadhramout and one in Mareb, killing 12, often referred to by media headlines as “suspected militants” without knowing their identities.

Other Yemenis such as Ahmed Khaled complained of the terror caused by the US drones:

Yemeni/American Journalist Hakim Almasmari, editor-in-chief of the Yemen Post, tweeted:

Independent journalist Rania Khalik tweeted:

She questioned the “terror threat” adding a link to her blog:

Yemeni/American activist Rooj Alwazir tweeted in dismay:

Yemeni journalist Khaled Al-Hammadi tweeted:

Yemeni Blogger @Afrahnasser posted [graphic] video and stills images of recent US drone strikes in Yemen in her blog post

Palestinian/American Journalist Ahmed Shihab-Eldin also tweeted:

He added:

Yemeni activist and journalist Farea Al-Muslimi summed up the fear experienced by Yemenis over Eid in the title of his article in the IndependentThe innocents caught under the drones: For fearful Yemenis the US and al-Qa'ida look very similar:

He wrote:

The US is running to drones every time its counter-terrorism efforts fail. On each occasion the public rage against al-Qa'ida in the Arabian Peninsula grows and its image is tarnished, and the US – via drone strikes – restores it again. In its recent actions, the US has become al-Qa'ida's public relations officer.

Almuslimi also tweeted a word of advice to journalists:

Haykel Bafana3 also urged reporters to do some investigative journalism before relaying any information regarding those kiiled by strikes:

Gregory D.Johnson author of the book “The Last Refuge: Yemen al-Qaeda and America's War in Arabia” tweeted an important fact:

The debate regarding U.S. drone strikes in Yemen has been wether they are effective or if they were creating more enemies was a topic discussed in this SupportYemen video:

A missing voice is in the discussion about drones has been that of families of drone victims which was addressed in this BBC report by correspondent Yalda Hakim: Why drone attacks in Yemen are like ‘trying to hit a ghost’

Researcher Atiaf Alwazir also advised:

Video-journalist Benjamin Wiacek tweeted:

CNN correspondent Mohammed Jamjoum tweeted:

On Sunday August 11th, 18 of the 19 US embassies re-opened except the one in Yemen.
Since July 27th, till today August 13 the day of writing this post, Yemen has been hit by 10 US drone strikes in different parts of the country (Abyan, Mareb, Hadgramout, Lahj, Shabwa) killing 40 unidentified alleged “militants”.

Yemenis condemn Al-Qaeda's activities and want Yemen to be safe but are enraged by the surge of US drone strikes in Yemen, as they are with President Hadi for approving them and by the government's silence towards the extra-judicial killing of Yemenis based on a US “Kill List“. Most of the so-called “suspected militants” killed are not identified nor are the numbers of civilians killed acknowledged. Both governments are not accountable for their deaths nor for compensating their families for their loss. In summary what was hyped as an Al-Qaeda “terror threat” on the US turned to be a “terror reality” in Yemen by the US, experienced by many Yemenis over Eid.

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