Thirteen people, including three civilians, were killed on Saturday in a U.S. drone attack on suspected al-Qaeda rebels in the central Yemeni province of Al-Bayda\’, a security source said.
Officials say the strike targeted the vehicles of the suspected insurgents Saturday in the Sawma area of the al-Bayda province.
The French news agency reports that a security official in Yemen said 15 militants were killed along with three civilians. The report has not been confirmed.
The United States is the only country that operates drones in Yemen, but officials rarely discuss the covert program.
Yemen is among a handful of countries where the US acknowledges using drones, although it does not comment on the practice.
Last month, Yemen\’s President Abdrabuh Mansur Hadi defended the use of drones in the country, saying they "have greatly helped in limiting Al-Qaeda activities, despite some mistakes, which we are sorry about."
The drone programme has come under criticism from human rights activists concerned over civilian casualties.
The United Nations said 16 civilians were killed and at least 10 wounded when two separate wedding processions were targeted in December.