Publication Date: 
Wed, 2010-05-26 01:47

The air strike targeting Al-Qaeda missed its mark on Tuesday and killed the mediator by mistake, prompting members of his tribe to blow up a crude oil pipeline in clashes that followed, a provincial official said.
The Yemeni mediator, who had been trying to persuade members of the global militant group to surrender, was killed instantly in a pre-dawn strike on his car in Yemen's mountainous Maarib province that also killed three other people.
A Yemeni news website seen as aligned with the opposition said the strike was carried out by a drone, a weapon that the Yemen military is not believed to have. US forces helping Yemen fight Al-Qaeda have used drones in the past, but a US diplomat refused to say if the United States was involved.
"Jaber Al-Shabwani, the deputy governor of Maarib, was killed with a number of his relatives and travel companions in an airstrike targeting the Wadi Obeida area, where Al-Qaeda elements are present," the provincial official, a member of a local council in Maarib, said.
"The deputy governor was on a mediation mission to persuade Al-Qaeda elements to hand themselves over to the authorities, but it seems that the airs trike missed its target and struck his car, killing him instantly in addition to three companions," he added, declining to be named. Two others were wounded.
Supreme Security Committee (SSC) regretted the incident. The SSC, in a message, expressed its condolences to the families of the martyr and his companions. It, however, said: “We are committed to fighting terrorists.”
“Yemen will not be allowed to become as a safe haven for terrorists," a security source told Saba News Agency.
The strike provoked clashes between the army and members of Al-Shabwani's tribe, and the tribesmen attacked the pipeline that ferries crude oil from Maarib, east of the capital Sanaa, to the Red Sea coast, the official said.
A statement from a Yemeni High Security Council source expressed sorrow for the death of Al-Shabwani and called him a martyr, but did not specify who carried out the strike or what type of aircraft was used.
A US diplomat would not discuss the attack. Asked directly if the US was involved in the strike, he said: "If you want operation-specific details you need to contact the Yemeni government."
In Maarib, clashes erupted spreading from the countryside to Maarib where dozens of tribal gunmen opened fire on government buildings. The army returned fire. At least seven people were injured, a local official said.
Tuesday's strike had likely intended to hit Ayed Al-Shabwani, an Al-Qaeda leader whose farm in Maarib province was the target of a strike in January, the provincial official said. Ayed is a relative of the mediator who was killed.

Taxonomy upgrade extras: