Friday, April 27, 2012

Obama Administration approves broader Yemen drone strikes

The file photo of a US assassination drone

Source: Press TV

US President Barack Obama has approved a new policy which allows the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) to expand its covert drone campaign in Yemen.

According to US officials, Obama has approved the use of "signature strikes", which will allow the CIA to launch strikes against terrorism suspects even when it does not know the identities of those who could be killed.

The move comes as the number of US assassination drone strikes in Yemen has already hit a record.

Critics of drone campaign believe that more innocent people will be killed if US strikes are expanded in Yemen.

US assassination drone strikes killed at least 64 people, mainly civilians, in southern Yemen over a period of only three days in March.

The CIA has been flying drones in Yemen since 2011 from a secret base in the country.

Last year, two American citizens, Anwar al-Awlaki and his teenage son, were also killed in US drone attacks in Yemen. Their deaths sparked strong criticism against Obama administration’s targeted killings of civilians across the world, including American citizens without any judicial procedures.

Leading academic Professor Noam Chomsky has also condemned US policy of targeting terror suspects in foreign countries using unmanned aerial vehicles, saying the tactic amounts to ''state terror''.

The US military uses assassination drones in several Muslim countries, including Yemen, Somalia, and Pakistan.

Washington claims the airstrikes target militants, but the attacks have mostly led to civilian casualties.

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