Two Yemeni families who lost dozens of relatives to U.S. drone strikes and a botched special operations forces raid during the Obama and Trump administrations filed a petition this week against the United States government, accusing it of “unlawful” killing.
Agence France-Presse reports the international legal advocacy organization Reprieve filed the petition Monday through the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, on behalf of the Al-Ameri and Al-Taisy families.
The petition states that “seven attacks at issue have resulted in the unlawful killing of at least 48 people, including 17 children, and in the serious injury of at least seven others, as well as the destruction of their personal property and livelihoods.”
Thirty-four of those killed were members of the two families. Vice reports the Al-Ameris and Al-Taisys had come together on December 12, 2013 in al Baydah province to celebrate the marriage of Abdullah Mabkhout Al-Ameri and his wife Wardah Al-Taisy. The families were traveling in a traditional wedding procession from the bride’s home when a U.S. unmanned aerial drone launched four missiles at them, killing 12 people.
“The family have tried time and time again to engage the Yemeni and US governments to stop the strikes, and yet they’ve continued. The commission is a last resort to put forward evidence to say ‘you’re making a mistake’.”
— Reprieve (@Reprieve) January 29, 2021
That was just the beginning. Over the following five years, the families were attacked six more times by U.S. drones. The year 2017 was especially deadly, as 22 members of the families were killed in airstrikes and a ground attack.
The ground raid, which occurred in the village of Al-Ghayil in the Yakla area on January 29, 2017 and involved U.S. Navy SEALs—one of whom was killed—claimed the lives of as many as 30 civilians, including 15 members of the Al-Ameri and Al-Taisy families.
The U.K.-based Bureau of Investigative Journalism reported nine children killed during the Yakla raid. Among these was Nawar al-Awlaki, an 8-year-old U.S. citizen who, according to her grandfather, “was hit with a bullet in her neck and suffered for two hours.”