U.S. missile attacks killed civilians in Yemen - rights group

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. missile strikes, including armed drone attacks, have killed dozens of civilians in Yemen as the United States tries to crack down on al Qaeda in the country, a prominent human rights organization said on Tuesday.

Human Rights Watch detailed in a 96-page report what it said were six "unacknowledged" U.S. military attacks on targets in Yemen, which either clearly, or possibly, violated international law.

Eighty-two people, 57 of whom were civilians, were killed during the six attacks studied by the group. One of the incidents occurred in 2009 and the other five happened in 2012-2013.

The Human Rights Watch report is being released at the same time as Amnesty International is issuing a report on U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan.

Two strikes in Yemen - one in September 2012 and the other in December, 2009 - caused what Human Rights Watch said were the largest numbers of civilian casualties.

On September 2, 2012, as two U.S. drones flew above the target area, either two additional drones or two warplanes attacked a vehicle traveling north from the central Yemeni city of Radaa.

That attack killed 12 passengers in the vehicle, including three children and a pregnant woman, in violation of a law of war prohibiting attacks that do not discriminate between civilians and combatants, Human Rights Watch said.

The group said the apparent target of the raid was a tribal leader named Abd al-Raouf al-Dahab. He was not in the vehicle when it was attacked and that it was not clear that he was a member of al Qaeda's Yemeni affiliate, known as al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.

Of the six cases it studied, Human Rights Watch said at least four of the strikes were carried out by missile-firing drones. A fifth was carried out either by drones or airplanes, and the sixth by cruise missiles that the group said released cluster bombs.

In December 17, 2009, an attack by as many as five U.S. Navy cruise missiles struck a Yemeni hamlet, killing what the Yemeni government initially described as 34 "terrorists" at a training camp.

However, Human Rights Watch said a Yemeni government inquiry later established that although 14 fighters for al Qaeda's Yemeni affiliate were killed in the attack, so were at least 41 civilians, including nine women and 21 children.

(Reporting by Mark Hosenball; editing by Christopher Wilson)

Matches

MORE TOP STORIES TODAY

AB, Parthiv seal Bangalore's second win

AB, Parthiv seal Bangalore's second win

Royal Challengers overcame a stutter to cruise to the small target they were set by Mumbai Indians. More »

Delhi look for first points against confident Kolkata

Delhi look for first points against confident Kolkata

Preview — The threat of Sunil Narine looms large again. More »

Glenn Maxwell carves his parallel universe

Glenn Maxwell carves his parallel universe

Glenn Maxwell seems to project an icy disdain when at the crease. Match situations rarely faze him and the bubble in which he plays excludes everyone … More »

No way back for Pietersen: ECB

No way back for Pietersen: ECB

Kevin Pietersen's hopes of reviving his international career appeared to end Saturday when ECB managing director Paul Downton said there was 'no way back'… More »

[REWIND] The world record that nearly wasn't

[REWIND] The world record that nearly wasn't

Twenty years ago this week, Brian Lara became Test cricket's highest scorer, but he almost didn't make it. More »

Moores gets second stint as England coach

Moores gets second stint as England coach

In a two-year spell from 2007 to 2009, the 51-year-old Moores led England in seven Test series. More »

BCCI is not anybody’s property — Dalmiya

BCCI is not anybody’s property — Dalmiya

Dalmiya feels that Srinivasan’s ‘power hungry’ attitude isn’t helping matters. More »

Tough for bowlers: Saeed Ajmal

Tough for bowlers: Saeed Ajmal

The 36-year-old believes the T20 format and rule changes in 50-over matches have made a real difference. More »

Rajasthan edge low-scoring thriller

Rajasthan edge low-scoring thriller

The bowlers restricted Hyderabad to 133 for 6 before Rahane and Binny took Rajasthan over the line. More »

Maxwell blitz takes Punjab home

Maxwell blitz takes Punjab home

The Kings XI batsman blasted a 43-ball 95 to help his team pull off a massive chase against Chennai Super Kings. More »

KP ridicules idea of day-night Tests

KP ridicules idea of day-night Tests

Kevin Pietersen has ridiculed the idea of day-night Test cricket, saying the game would be so different to proper Test cricket that we will need a whole… More »

BCCI members want independent probe

BCCI members want independent probe

The board members are realising after the Supreme Court's observations that something has to be done — IS Bindra More »

'BCCI lacks leaders to take on Srini'

'BCCI lacks leaders to take on Srini'

Two former BCCI presidents, Shashank Manohar and Jagmohan Dalmiya, have reacted strongly to the news of the BCCI calling an emergent meeting on Sunday… More »

Bangalore vs Mumbai: A battle of the big-hitters

Bangalore vs Mumbai: A battle of the big-hitters

Preview — Given the firepower in both line-ups, Dubai crowd may see another high-scorer More »

Yuvraj tees off to Sharjah's delight

Yuvraj tees off to Sharjah's delight

Yuvraj Singh was hardly convincing to begin with against Delhi, but a big dose of crowd support and a helping of poor bowling meant he had the opportunity… More »

Stressed Trott stands down again

Stressed Trott stands down again

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) on Friday confirmed that batsman Jonathan Trott is to take another break from all cricket with immediate eff… More »

PCB starts another coach hunt

PCB starts another coach hunt

The PCB has decided to not extend the contracts of head coach Moin Khan, fielding coach Shoaib Mohammad and batting consultant Zaheer Abbas, and has invited… More »

Fiery star Stokes bids to curb his temper

Fiery star Stokes bids to curb his temper

England all-rounder Ben Stokes admits he must keep his anger under control if he is to end his international exile. More »

Bangalore's arsenal blazes to victory

Bangalore's arsenal blazes to victory

Yuvraj Singh was back to his best in his first match for Royal Challengers Bangalore. More »

Pakistan cricketers face probe

Pakistan cricketers face probe

Pakistani cricket authorities have launched an investigation after a number of current international stars played in exhibition matches in the United States… More »

BCCI to meet before next court hearing

BCCI to meet before next court hearing

The BCCI will hold an emergent working committee meeting on April 20 to discuss the future course of action with regard to the Supreme Court hearing concerning… More »

Gavaskar wants a clean IPL

Gavaskar wants a clean IPL

"Integrity is non-negotiable..." says the BCCI's interim chief ahead of Season 7 of the tainted league. More »

Time for Chennai to enter familiar cocoon

Time for Chennai to enter familiar cocoon

Chennai have an emphatic 8-3 lead in the head-to-head with Punjab, with one game tied More »

Kallis, Narine star in KKR win

Kallis, Narine star in KKR win

An all-round display saw Knight Riders thump Mumbai Indians by 41 runs in the IPL-7 opener. More »