Reuters in Dubai
guardian.co.uk, Tuesday 22 January 2013 18.18 GMT
A Yemeni cabinet minister has criticised the use of unmanned US drones against suspected al-Qaida militants in Yemen, a tactic that has outraged communities in targeted areas, and urged a move to ground operations to avoid hurting civilians.
Yemen, a country plagued by lawlessness that has been exploited by al-Qaida to launch attacks on Arab and western targets, has witnessed a rising tempo of US missile strikes in recent weeks.
"To have an innocent person fall, this is a major breach," Yemeni human rights minister Hooria Mashhour told Reuters on a visit to the United Arab Emirates, voicing rare public opposition to drones by a member of the cabinet.
The comments by Mashhour, formerly a top activist in the mass unrest that ousted President Ali Abdullah Saleh a year ago, reflect growing public unease about the strikes and amounted to rare criticism from within the government.
Just one in 50 victims of America’s deadly drone strikes in Pakistan are terrorists – while the rest are innocent civilians, a new report claimed today.
The authoritative joint study, by Stanford and New York Universities, concludes that men, women and children are being terrorised by the operations ’24 hours-a-day’.
And the authors lay much of the blame on the use of the ‘double-tap’ strike where a drone fires one missile – and then a second as rescuers try to drag victims from the rubble. One aid agency said they had a six-hour delay before going to the scene.
The tactic has cast such a shadow of fear over strike zones that people often wait for hours before daring to visit the scene of an attack. <snip>