Holidays marked by drone strikes

Christmas eve last year saw U.S. drone fire over Yemen. This year, a strike on Pakistan

By Natasha Lennard
Published December 26, 2013 5:52PM (EST)

As I noted this time last year, the Christmas holiday was no time for U.S. drone ceasefire. On Dec. 24, 2012, a vehicle in Yemen carrying two suspected al-Qaida militants was hit by a U.S. missiles and later that night five “unidentified” individuals were killed in another U.S. strike from an unmanned aerial vehicle.

This year, as American's celebrated Christmas day, the U.S. military launched a drone strike over Yemen. Firedoglake's Kevin Gosztola highlighted:

The Pakistani newspaper, The Express Tribune, reported, “Four suspected militants were killed when a US drone fired missiles at a compound in North Waziristan Agency in the late hours of Wednesday.”

Two missiles were fired at a compound. A local tribesman said he had heard “two huge explosions” in the “outskirts of Miramshah.” Tribesmen left their homes in panic.

“We can still hear the sound of drones hovering in the sky,” he said, adding that the bodies were being pulled out of the compound.

The Pakistan Tribune also reported, “Panic gripped the area following the attack as unmanned aircraft kept flying over the area till wee hours of Thursday morning.” And, “The identity of the deceased couldn’t be ascertained because of their charred bodies.”

... The government of Pakistan strongly condemned the US drone strike. “There is an across the board consensus in Pakistan that these drone strikes must end,” a Ministry of Foreign Affairs press release declared.

It had been three weeks since the previous U.S. strike on Pakistan. Last year (commenting on a similar timeframe of strikes over Yemen), Gosztola suggested the U.S. appears to have "waited" until the holiday period, when U.S. citizens are generally distracted from the news cycle, to launch fresh strikes.


Natasha Lennard

Natasha Lennard is an assistant news editor at Salon, covering non-electoral politics, general news and rabble-rousing. Follow her on Twitter @natashalennard, email nlennard@salon.com.

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Related Topics ------------------------------------------

Christmas Drone Strikes Drones Militants Pakistan Terrorism Yemen