AntiWar.com & Associated Press – 2012-03-12 23:20:51
Yemen Confirms US Airstrikes in Abyan Province
Jason Ditz / AntiWar.com
(March 11, 2012) — Following up on a bloody series of strikes yesterday, the Yemeni government confirmed today that the strikes against towns in the Abyan Province were carried out by US warplanes. The US has yet to comment. The strikes are seen as an effort by the US to help the latest allied ruler, Major General Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, who was recently elected in a single-candidate vote that President Obama praised as a “model” for the region.
The Yemeni military says that the strikes included one in the city of Jaar targeted a number of military vehicles which the Ansar al-Sharia forces captured during the attack on a Yemeni military base in the province.
The overall US involvement in Yemen is just now becoming apparent, with the revelation that US ground troops are in the nearby city of Aden. The deployment of troops was never announced to the American public, and indeed many times the administration ruled out sending ground troops to Yemen.
Yemeni Officials Say 4 US Airstrikes Hit al-Qaida Controlled Area in South
SANAA, Yemen )March 11, 2012) — Yemeni military officials said Sunday that US aircraft carried out four airstrikes in a southern province where al-Qaida-linked militants control several key towns.
Two military officials said the airstrikes targeted Khanfar Mountain near the town of Jaar in Abyan province, where al-Qaida is in control.
There was no comment from US officials.
In the past, US warplanes have targeted leaders and facilities of al-Qaida in Yemen, considered one of its most dangerous branches. On Saturday, Yemeni officials said US airstrikes killed at least 18 al-Qaida-linked militants in the province of Bayda. Yemeni military officials attributed that attack on the US, saying the Yemeni military does not have the capacity to carry out nighttime airstrikes. The Yemeni officials spoke on condition of anonymity in line with military regulations.
Al-Qaida has taken advantage of a year of internal turmoil to take over parts of southern Yemen. They took control of Jaar last spring and have successfully battled the Yemeni military, expanding their reach north to the neighboring province of Bayda.
The uprising in Yemen, the poorest country in the Arab world, eventually led to the ouster of longtime ruler Ali Abdullah Saleh, who was once a partner in the fight against al-Qaida in Yemen.
US leaders have since thrown their support behind the newly inaugurated Yemeni president, Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi. He has said that fighting al-Qaida is one of his top priorities, along with restructuring the army and installing new commanders in the south, where officials said Saleh loyalists may have even struck local deals with the militants.
There was no word on casualties from the airstrikes on Sunday, but residents said they could see smoke rising from the area.
A military official said Yemeni airstrikes near the southern city of Jaar a day earlier wounded nine al-Qaida-linked militants and destroyed several military vehicles the group seized in a bold attack on an army base last week.
In that attack, al-Qaida militants sneaked across the desert at dawn to the back lines of Yemeni forces, killing nearly 200 troops and dumping their bodies in the desert.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.
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