Reuters reports that 13 suspected al-Qaeda members and three civilians were killed in a drone strike in Yemen early Saturday morning.
"An air strike targeted cars that suspected al-Qaeda militants were in and killed 13 of them in the Sawma'a area of al-Bayda."
U.S. officials and global terrorism experts have expressed concerns over recent audio and video footage of al-Qaeda members meeting out in the open, seemingly careless that surfaced on Jihadist forums earlier this week. In one of two tapes, al-Qaeda leader, Ayman al-Zawahiri is heard referencing the deadly terrorist attack last September inside of the Westgate shopping mall in Nairobi, Kenya that killed at least 67 innocent victims.
In recent years, the threat of Yemeni based Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula to the United States homeland and the highly controversial U.S. drone strikes policy have both been well documented.
In April, 2013, the United States Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights at the request of Illinois senior Senator Richard Durbin held a hearing to examine the legality of U.S. drone strikes. Witnesses told lawmakers during the hearing that drone strikes have sparked “intense anger and hatred” in the Muslim world, and Al-Qaeda has exploited the drone strikes for recruitment.
During his testimony, a Yemeni citizen that attended high school in the United States, Farea al-Muslimi, told lawmakers that friends and neighbors used to know of America primarily through “stories of the wonderful experiences I had."
“Now, however, when they think of America, they think of the fear they feel at the drones over their heads. What the violent militants had failed to achieve, one drone strike accomplished in an instant” al-Muslimi added.
Anwar Al-Awlaki, the leader of Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula in Yemen became the first American citizen to make the CIA's kill or capture list in the War on Terror. Al-Awlaki, dubbed to as the “YouTube” bin Laden was killed in a drone strike in Yemen in September, 2011. Al-Awlaki was known for his effective employment of social media websites, including YouTube to connect with and recruit young Westerners -- especially other American citizens.
Terrorism experts considered al-Awlaki the largest threat to U.S. homeland security, even before the death of Osama Bin Laden. Al-Awlaki has been tied to 9/11, the Fort Hood massacre in 2009 and more recently, the Boston Marathon bombings.