US to expand scope of UAV strikes in Yemen

The Obama Administration has granted the CIA and the U.S. military greater flexibility to strike al Qaeda operatives in Yemen with armed unmanned aerial vehicles in response to growing concerns that the Arabian Peninsula nation has become a principal base for the militant organization, the Wall Street Journal reports.

The administration has granted permission to the U.S. intelligence and military services to proceed as necessary with attacks on high-value terrorism targets but has withheld permission for attacks on groups of low-level foot soldiers battling the Yemeni government, the story said.

Supporters of even greater leeway argue that southern Yemen is now a key al Qaeda haven. For this reason, they maintain, the Obama administration should approve a Pakistan-style UAV strike policy that enables intelligence and military authorities to strike low-level fighters, even though such an approach has met substantial resistance from Pakistani officials, the story said.

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