Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Yemen's Air Strike on Al Qaeda May Signal New US Focus

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Yemen's Air Strike on Al Qaeda May Signal New US Focus

Article excerpt

Yemen's air strike Thursday targeting Al Qaeda hideouts and perhaps Anwar al-Awlaki, the cleric linked to the Fort Hood shooter, was the second conducted with US assistance in a week.

A series of air strikes in Yemen Thursday may have targeted the

radical cleric who associated with alleged Fort Hood shooter Maj.

Nidal Malik Hasan.

The air strikes on Al Qaeda hideouts, the second in a week conducted

by the Yemeni government with US assistance, may have also targeted

Anwar al-Awlaki, an American cleric living in Yemen. The Washington

Post, which has reporters on the ground in Yemen, said that as many

as 30 suspected militants were killed. It was not clear if Mr.

al-Awlaki, who had extensive contact with Hasan over the last year,

was killed in the attack.

The Post cited a local news source with ties to the government as

saying that the Awlaki property in Shabwa province was "raided and

demolished"; but it also quoted family members of al-Awlaki saying

they did not believe the cleric was at the location targeted.

It was the second such strike in a week, and though US officials

won't confirm their involvement, increased military aid for Yemen

this year suggests a new US focus in the war on terrorism.

Last week, an air strike appeared to have taken out more than a

couple dozen militants based on operations using American firepower

and intelligence sought by the Yemeni government.

On Thursday, US government officials issued statements in support of

Yemen. "We strongly support Yemeni actions against Al Qaeda in the

Arabian Peninsula which poses a serious threat to Yemeni, US and

regional interests," said one official in Washington.

Links to Fort HoodHasan, an Army psychiatrist, is the alleged

shooter in the Fort Hood rampage Nov. 5 that took the lives of 13

soldiers and injured 30 more. Hasan was in contact via e-mail to

al-Awlaki, a Yemeni American whose preachings are sympathetic to Al

Qaeda. The e-mails were intercepted by Federal Bureau of

Investigations (FBI) officials in December last year but held to be

harmless.

However, ABC reported Thursday that in an interview with Al Jazeera

earlier this week, the preacher claimed Hasan had asked in an e- mail

whether it was OK to kill fellow US soldiers, among other things. …

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