On Saturday, I wrote about a series of Friday drone attacks in southern Yemen. The most prominent of these attacks killed Ibrahim al-Bana, who is described as the media chief for al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. This same attack, however, also killed Abdulrahman al-Awlaki, the son of Anwar al-Awlaki, the American cleric targeted and killed last month in Yemen in another US drone attack.
Yesterday, the al-Awlaki family spoke out for the first time since the deaths, granting interviews with the Washington Post. Notably, it turns out that Adbulrahman was only 16 years old, despite many media reports (including the AP report as carried in the Post that I quoted Saturday) that he was 21. Here is how Abdulrahman’s grandfather (Anwar’s father) described the killing:
“To kill a teenager is just unbelievable, really, and they claim that he is an al-Qaeda militant. It’s nonsense,” said Nasser al-Awlaki, a former Yemeni agriculture minister who was Anwar al-Awlaki’s father and the boy’s grandfather, speaking in a phone interview from Sanaa on Monday. “They want to justify his killing, that’s all.”
And Abdulrahman wasn’t the only teenager killed in this attack. His 17 year old Yemeni cousin also died. In fact, the family claims the attack took place at a nighttime barbecue and several teenagers were killed:
In a separate statement Monday, the Awlaki family said that Abdulrahman “along with some of his tribe’s youth have gone barbecuing under the moonlight. A drone missile hit their congregation killing Abdulrahman and several other teenagers.”