jueves, 13 de marzo de 2014

Yemen officials say 7 Saudi militants killed in recent wave of US drone strikes - Washington Post

The U.S. said Friday evening that its embassy in Sanaa will remain closed while the other posts reopen Sunday or Monday.

Since July 27, drone attacks in Yemen's southern and central provinces have killed a total of 34 militants suspected of being members of the country's al-Qaida branch, known as al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, security officials have said.

On Thursday alone, the officials said U.S. drones conducted three airstrikes, killing 12 militants.

The drone strikes occurred in areas where the terrorist group enjoys protection from anti-government tribes or hides in mountainous areas.

The terror network bolstered its operations in Yemen more than a decade after key Saudi operatives fled here following a major crackdown in their homeland. The drone strikes and a U.S.-backed offensive that began in June 2012 have driven militants from territory they had seized a year earlier, during Yemen's political turmoil amid the Arab Spring.

The senior Yemeni officials who said the seven Saudis were among the victims of the drone attacks said intelligence suggested the foreigners had crossed the border between the neighboring countries to either ferry in money to the terror group or to train in al-Qaida camps.

"Al-Qaida is especially recruiting tech-savvy and well-educated Saudis," one of the senior security officials said.

He added that the terror group also is bringing in Pakistanis, who are explosives experts. He cited Ragaa Bin Ali a Pakistani bomb maker who was killed in a drone strike.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to the media.

Saudi political analyst Anwar Eshki said the kingdom is aware of Saudis crossing into Yemen.

"The kingdom is tracking down those people ... but there are hundreds of organizations and groups that work on recruiting them," he said.

One suspected Saudi militant was among seven who were killed by a drone in the southern city of Shabwa. Four other Saudis were injured in the same attack, according to a senior local government official who also spoke anonymously because he was not allowed to talk to reporters.

While the United States acknowledges its drone program in Yemen, it does not talk about individual strikes. The program is run by the Pentagon's Joint Special Operations Command and the CIA, with the military flying its drones out of Djibouti, and the CIA out of a base in Saudi Arabia.

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