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CIA plans drone strikes on Qaeda men in Yemen

08:46 AM Jun 02, 2019 |

Washington The Central Intelligence Agency is planning to launch a secret mission to kill Al- Qaeda militants in Yemen, where months of antigovernment protests, an armed revolt and the attempted assassination of the president have left a power vacuum, US officials have said.

The covert program is the latest step to combat the growing threat from Al Qaedas outpost in Yemen, which has been the source of several attempted attacks on the US and is home to an American- born cleric, Anwar al- Awlaki, reports ANI. The CIA program will be a major expansion of US counter terrorism efforts in Yemen, The Wall Street Journal reports.

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Since December 2009, the US military has carried out strikes in Yemen with intelligence support from CIA, but now the spy agency will carry out aggressive drone strikes itself.

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The US military strikes have been conducted with the permission of the Yemeni government.

The CIA operates under different legal restrictions, giving the administration a freer hand to carry out strikes even if Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh reverses his past approval of military strikes or cedes power to a government opposed to them, the paper said.

The CIA program also affords the US greater operational secrecy, and because CIA drones use smaller warheads than most manned military aircraft, US officials hope they will reduce the risk of civilian casualties and minimize any anti- American backlash in Yemen, it added.

THE covert program is the latest step to combat the growing threat from Al- Qaedas outpost in Yemen, which has been the source of several attempted attacks on the US

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