Strikes against Al-Qaeda in Yemen ‘were US led’

Recent attacks on Al-Qaeda positions in Yemen, including cruise missile strikes, were led by the United States according to a CBS television report on Saturday.

The channel quoted Sebastian Gorka, a "US special operations expert who trains Yemeni officers," as saying the United States had led the recent ground and air assaults.

"That was very much something executed by the United States, but with heavy support by the Yemeni government," Gorka said.

"It was cruise missile strikes in combination with military units on the ground."

The report comes after President Barack Obama earlier blamed Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula for arming and training a young Nigerian man who tried to blow up a US airliner on Christmas Day.

The US leader also vowed to hit back at those behind the attack, as his administration faces criticism for failing to prevent the December 25 attack.

"Training camps have been struck; leaders eliminated; plots disrupted," he said in a weekly radio address. "And all those involved in the attempted act of terrorism on Christmas must know: you too will be held to account."

Yemeni forces launched raids on suspected Al-Qaeda targets on December 17 and 24, killing more than 60 Islamist militants.

Several others were also wounded in clashes this week in a western province of the impoverished Arabian peninsula state which lies north of Somalia across the Gulf of Aden.

On Saturday security sources said Yemeni army reinforcements had been sent to the eastern provinces of Abyan, Bayada and Shawba, where Al-Qaeda militants have hideouts.

"These measures are part of operations to hunt down elements of Al-Qaeda, prevent any attempt of a response after the raids, and tighten the noose around extremists," one of the sources said.

 

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