The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the Center for Constitutional Rights have urged Washington to reveal details of a deadly missile strike in Yemen in 2009.
The groups announced that they had filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to the Pentagon, the Department of the Navy, and the United States Central Command, among other government entities, seeking details of the attack, on Tuesday.
The FOIA is a federal freedom of information law that allows for the full or partial disclosure of previously unreleased information and documents controlled by the United States government.
The strike, which occurred on Dec. 17, 2009, killed 41 Yemenis, including 21 children and 14 women, which was the highest death toll for civilians in a US attack in Yemen to date, according to the ACLU.
It was worst reported loss of civilian life from a US assassination attack in Yemen to date, according to the ACLU.
The attack, carried out with one or more cruise missiles launched from an US warship or submarine, targeted the remote mountain village of al-Majalahon in Yemen’s Abyan province. Entire families were wiped out in the strike.
Yemeni officials initially said the country's army launched the airstrike. The ACLU cites information released through WikiLeaks describing an agreement between the US and Yemeni governments that shields US citizens from being held accountable for such attacks.
The US military uses lethal force in several Muslim countries, including Yemen, Somalia, and Pakistan, to target suspected militants, but the attacks have mostly led to civilian casualties.