Friday, July 15, 2011

US airstrikes kill 8 in Yemen

A US unmanned aerial vehicle (drone) (file photo)

Source: Press TV

US drones and fighter jets have attacked a police station in southern Yemen thought to be occupied by suspected pro al-Qaeda militants, killing eight individuals.

Both the US and Yemeni security officials have stated that the police station in Al Wadyia was earlier overrun by the militants, The New York Times reported.

The airstrike was reportedly conducted on Thursday.

The US military, according to the report, has expanded its air strikes in Yemen, aimed at reducing the power of the militants that now control larger parts of southern Yemen.

However, US airstrikes are rarely acknowledged publicly. Yet, the Obama administration has since 2009 stepped up airstrikes in Yemen, and urged Yemen's Ali Abdullah Saleh to carry out raids based on US intelligence.

Moreover, the US military carries out its airstrikes with the support of the CIA. It has further been reported that the CIA is setting up a base in the region to partly serve as a hub for future Yemen operations.

However, many Yemenis consider al-Qaeda operating inside their country as a myth that only allows Saleh to crush his domestic opponents as well as to receive US aid money.

In 2010, Yemen reportedly received USD 155 million in aid from the US.

However, the US military's Central Command has proposed a new package of up to USD 1.6 billion in aid over the coming five years for Yemen, allowing the country to build up its security forces.

This is despite a call from the Human Rights Watch, urging the US to suspend the aid money until troops loyal to Saleh stop their attacks on anti-regime protesters.

Anti-regime demonstrations have been held in Yemen since late January.

The protesters have demanded an end to the rampant government corruption and unemployment. Most importantly, they have called on Saleh to step down from power.

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