SANAA, Yemen — Missiles fired by a U.S. drone slammed into a convoy of vehicles traveling to a wedding party Thursday in central Yemen, killing at least 13 people, Yemeni security officials said.
The officials said the attack took place in Radda, the capital of Bayda province, and left charred bodies and burnt-out cars on the road. The city, a stronghold of al-Qaida militants, witnessed deadly clashes last year between armed tribesmen backed by the military and al-Qaida gunmen in an attempt to drive them out of the city.
There were conflicting reports about whether militants were traveling with the wedding convoy.
A military official said initial information indicated the drone mistook the wedding party for an al-Qaida convoy. He said tribesmen known to the villagers were among the dead. One of the three security officials, however, said al-Qaida militants were suspected to have been traveling with the wedding convoy. While the U.S. acknowledges its drone program in Yemen, it does not usually talk about individual strikes.
If further investigations determine that the victims were all civilians, the attack could fuel an outburst of anger against the United States and the government in Sanaa among a Yemeni public already opposed to the U.S. drone strikes.