WASHINGTON – U.S. and Yemeni officials said Friday that the target of a Dec. 12th drone strike in Yemen was the ringleader behind the summer plot that shuttered 19 diplomatic posts across Africa and the Mideast. But he was only wounded, and escaped, while up to a dozen others were killed.
Two U.S. and one Yemeni official said Shawqi Ali Ahmad al-Badani, a midlevel leader in Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, was the target of the U.S. drone strike in the central city of Radda. U.S. officials say between nine and 12 other militants were killed, and they know of no civilian casualties.
Reports from Yemen were that the strike hit a wedding, killing 13 civilians. The Yemeni government paid the local tribe compensation for the loss of life, but Yemen’s official security committee also announced that the airstrike had targeted al-Qaida militants.
The U.S. officials say the militants were traveling to the wedding, but were not near civilians when they were hit.