Local officials in Yemen’s southern Shabwa province reported that an American drone strike killed five al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) fighters today. Today’s strike is the first reported in Yemen since Aug. 17.

The strike, which was launched by remotely piloted Predators or Reapers, targeted a vehicle traveling between the towns of Bihan and Asilan in northern Shabwa province, according to reports. Locals claimed that all passengers in the vehicle were killed and that their bodies had been severely dismembered.

As commonly occurs following reports of a US drone strike in Yemen, the Yemeni Ministry of Defense claimed that the strike was carried out by the Yemeni air force. A military source said that the strike targeted the AQAP leadership as they were planning to carry out an attack against military facilities and personnel. Despite these claims, Yemeni officials, including President Hadi, have stated in the past that the Yemeni air force does not possess the ability to strike moving vehicles. […]