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[Dehai-WN] Thehill.com: US warships strike al Qaeda targets in Yemen

From: Berhane Habtemariam <Berhane.Habtemariam_at_gmx.de_at_dehai.org>
Date: Fri, 23 Mar 2012 18:29:56 +0100

US warships strike al Qaeda targets in Yemen

By Carlo Munoz - 03/23/12 01:09 PM ET

U.S. warships shelled suspected al Qaeda hideouts in southern Yemen on
Thursday, days after a Yemeni terrorist cell tied to the group claimed
responsibility for the murder of an American citizen.

The day-long naval bombardment zeroed in on targets located near Zinjibar in
the southern province of Abyan, according to reports by the Associated


Military officials claim 29 members of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula
(AQAP), the group's cell headquartered in Yemen, were killed during the
naval barrage.


The Navy strikes come less than a week after Ansar al-Shariah, a jihadist
group tied to the AQAP claimed to have shot and killed American Joel Wesley.


Wesley was working as a teacher at a language institute in the southeast
city of Taiz when he was killed.


Taiz is the second largest city in Yemen and was a center of the
anti-government protests that ultimately ousted longtime Yemeni leader Ali
Abdullah Saleh from power in February.


Two members of the radical Islamist group, disguised as Yemeni soldiers,
allegedly shot Wesley as he sat in his car on March 11, according to news


The terror cell branded Wesley, who arrived in Yemen in 2010, an "enemy of
Islam" for preaching Christianity to locals during his tenure at the
institute, the report states.


The killing is only the latest in a string of attacks carried out by
Yemen-based terror groups.


Islamic militants kidnapped and killed a senior Yemeni security officer in
the southeast Hadramout province a day before the Navy bombardment of


The body of Lt. Col. Farag Said Ben Qahtan was found in farmlands following
a gunbattle between the kidnappers and security forces trying to rescue him,
according to the AP.


Pentagon and intelligence officials have recognized al Qaeda's Yemen cell as
one of the group's most active and dangerous.


AQAP leaders were behind a failed 2009 plot to blow up an American airliner
above Detroit and a 2010 attempt to set off a car bomb in the middle of
Times Square in New York City.


Former AQAP leader Anwar al Awlaki is believed to have spurred on Nidal
Malik Hassan to kill 13 U.S. soldiers during a shooting spree at the Army's
base in Ft. Hood, Texas.


The American-born Awlaki was killed in an air strike by a U.S.unmanned drone
last September.


It was the first time the White House approved the targeting and killing of
a U.S citizen in a counterterrorism operation.


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Received on Fri Mar 23 2012 - 13:29:54 EDT
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