U.S says its drone strikes target al-Qaeda , but Yemenis deny it




The years-long US drone strikes in Yemen increased civilian casualties, a new report has warned, pointing to yet another major threat facing the Yemeni people amid a devastating war by Saudi -led coalition, backed by the US.

The AP based its count on interviews with witnesses, families, drone attacks carried out under Trump have killed more than 300 people in 2017 and 2018, the AP found. Of those, at least 30 civilians were killed in 2018 according to accounts from family members and witnesses, the report added.

The Pentagon confirmed earlier this year that it had carried out a strike in Yemen’s Shabwa province on January 26, saying it was strictly targeting al-Qaeda members, however,  many families living in the targeted areas have gathered letters from police officers, district officials, tribal leaders, school principals and many other people to certify that their slain loved ones had nothing to do with al-Qaeda.

“In Yemen, European weapons are fundamentally responsible for the war taking place,” German EU lawmaker Sabine Losing, who is leading efforts to hold EU governments accountable, said on Wednesday.

The report said 21 EU countries approved licenses for the export of arms, ranging from bullets and bombs to fighter jets and specialized military components in 2015.

Many governments have promised to stop arms exports to Saudi Arabia, but only Germany has suspended its sales until clear explanations are made about the murder.French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said on Monday that Paris adhered to strict rules that “stop us selling weapons that might impact civilians.”Norway became the latest country to announce it was suspending arms exports to Saudi Arabia, following the murder of Khashoggi and Riyadh’s ongoing military campaign against Yemen.

In March 2015, the US -backed –Saudi-led coalition started  a war against Yemen with the declared aim of crushing the Houthi Ansarullah movement, who had taken over from the staunch Riyadh ally and fugitive former president Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, while also seeking to secure the Saudi border with its southern neighbor. Three years and over 60,000 dead and injured Yemeni people and  prevented the patients from travelling abroad for treatment and blocked the entry of medicine into the war-torn country, the war has yielded little to that effect.

Despite the coalition claims that it is bombing the positions of the Ansarullah fighters, Saudi bombers are flattening residential areas and civilian infrastructures.

More than 2,200 others have died of cholera, and the crisis has triggered what the United Nations has described as the world’s worst humanitarian disaster.

However, Saudi Arabia relies heavily on the US in its brutal war on Yemen. Washington has deployed a commando force on the Arab kingdom’s border with Yemen to help destroy arms belonging to Yemen’s popular Houthi Ansarullah movement. Washington has also provided logistical support and aerial refueling.

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