published Thursday, December 12th, 2013

Officials: U.S. drone strike kills 13 on way to wedding party in Yemen

Yemeni honor guards carry the coffins of victims during their funeral at the Defense Ministry complex in Sanaa, Yemen, Monday, Dec. 9, 2013. A suicide car bomber and heavily armed gunmen killed scores and wounded more than a hundred in a fierce battle in the heart of Yemen's capital of Sanaa on Thursday, Dec. 5, 2013.
Yemeni honor guards carry the coffins of victims during their funeral at the Defense Ministry complex in Sanaa, Yemen, Monday, Dec. 9, 2013. A suicide car bomber and heavily armed gunmen killed scores and wounded more than a hundred in a fierce battle in the heart of Yemen's capital of Sanaa on Thursday, Dec. 5, 2013.
Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

SANAA, Yemen — Yemeni officials say a U.S. drone strike has hit a convoy heading to wedding party, killing at least 13 people.

The officials say Thursday's attack took place in the Yemeni city of Radda, the capital of Bayda province. The city is known as a stronghold of al-Qaida militants.

They said the convoy was heading to a wedding in the village of Qaifa when it was hit by the drone, and that the strike left charred bodies in the road and vehicles on fire.

One official said that al-Qaida militants are suspected to have been traveling with the wedding convoy.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to brief the media.

The U.S. considers Yemen's al-Qaida branch to be among the most active in the world.

Sectarian clashes kill at least 40 in Yemen

SANAA, Yemen — Ultraconservative Sunni Muslim militants and rebels belonging to a branch of Shiite Islam battled each other in northern Yemen with artillery and machine guns Thursday in clashes that killed more than 40 people, security officials said.

The violence between Islamic Salafi fighters and Hawthi rebels has raged for weeks in Yemen's northern province of Saada, but the latest sectarian clashes marked an expansion of the fighting to the neighboring province of Hagga. The government brokered a cease-fire last month to try to end the violence, but both sides have repeatedly broken the truce.

Officials said Thursday's clashes began when ultraconservative Salafis took over a Hawthi stronghold in a mountainous area near the border with Saudi Arabia. The two sides battled with artillery, mortars and machine guns in the town of Fagga. The officials say that most of the casualties were on the Hawthi side.

The officials said that Salafis, however, accused Hawthis of trying to infiltrate their strongholds in Fagga.

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