Yemen: `Killed militants were about to quit Qaeda`

A leader of al-Awlaki tribe urged Washington and Sana’a to end a wave of air strikes.

Aden: Two members of the al-Awlaki tribe who died in an air strike on their hideout in Yemen late on Friday had been preparing to renounce al Qaeda and return to mainstream Islamic folds, a leader of their tribe said on Saturday.

Abu Bakr al-Awlaki urged Washington and Sana’a to end a wave of air strikes that had killed a number of suspected al Qaeda militants in recent months, saying the attacks were exacerbating hatred for the United States.

"The tribe had reached an agreement with a number of its sons accused of belonging to al Qaeda to return to the just path, and they were due to return home today, Saturday," Sheikh Abu Bakr said by telephone.

"But instead of that, we received them as mutilated corpses."

Yemeni officials said up to 24 people died in at least three air strikes on militant hideouts in southern Yemen, including the son of US-born cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, who was killed in a CIA drone attack last month, and his brother.

Both were due to be buried near the town of Azzan, where they died, along with the head of the media department of al Qaeda, Egyptian national Ibrahim al-Banna.

Dozens of people were also injured in the attack, which the Yemeni Defence Ministry said was carried out by its war planes, while local officials and witnesses said they believed foreign aircraft were behind the strikes.

"It is the Americans who take lives without legal basis," Shaikh Abu Bakr said. "This method paves the way for hostility toward the United States and does not stop al Qaeda."

"The Yemeni and foreign air force must stop flying over our lands," he said.

Bureau Report

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