Source: XINHUA | 2012-9-5 | ONLINE EDITION
SANAA, Sept. 4 (Xinhua) -- Yemeni President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi on Tuesday ordered an investigation into the civilian deaths in a U.S. drone strike earlier this week, as the parliament summoned the interior minister to clarify on the incident at an emergency meeting.
Up to 13 civilians, including two women and a child, were killed Sunday by a botched U.S. air strike, just few days after similar errant airstrike claimed the lives of dozens of Yemenis in south and east of the impoverished Arab country.
"President Hadi formed a special team to investigate the airstrike's civilian deaths in Radda city of the southeast al- Bayda province," the state Saba news agency quoted a presidential statement as saying.
According to Saba, Hadi made the order hours after he received a phone call from assistant to U.S. President Barack Obama for counterterrorism, John Brennan, in which they discussed the anti- terror cooperation between the two countries,
The move came after angry relatives of the dead blocked the main highways linking Radaa, some 170 km southeast of the capital Sanaa, to the other country's provinces in protest against the Yemeni government.
In response, the government has sent a tribal mediator to convince the victims' families that the vehicles of their dead relatives were close to the targeted car of the al-Qaida leader, Saba quoted an official of the country's higher security committee as saying.
He said "the mediators on Tuesday managed to persuade the relatives of dead to re-open the roads in return for pledges that the government will compensate them."
Yemeni officials said the raid was targeting al-Qaida leader Raouf al-Dhahab, but the U.S. drone mistakenly fired two missiles on two vehicles carrying innocent citizens, while al-Dhahab survived unharmed.
Meanwhile, the Yemeni lawmakers said in a press release that the parliament on Tuesday summoned Interior Minister Mohammed Qahtan to an emergency meeting to clarify over the civilian casualties of the U.S. drone strike.
Minister of Human Rights Houria Mash'hour and several members of the parliament condemned the "U.S. meddling" in the Yemeni internal affairs, saying that most casualties of the U.S. drones were civilians and calling for an immediate end to the U.S. interference and drone strikes, local media reported.
On Monday, thousands of Yemenis including prominent tribal leaders in Hadramout rallied against the U.S. drone strikes that killed dozens of residents over the past three weeks, demanding the Yemeni government take actions to halt the killing of civilians in botched air raids.
Yemen's southern and eastern provinces most frequently witness drone strikes targeting al-Qaida militants.
The United states has beefed up anti-terror cooperation with the Yemeni government since President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi took office in February, after a year of political upheaval that allowed the AQAP to capture several cities in southern Yemen.
Combating al-Qaida network in the troubled impoverished Arab country remains one of the biggest challenges confronting Hadi, who has promised to reform the army, restore security and uproot the resurgent AQAP.