Drones still flying as US reopens most embassies in the Arabian Peninsula

 

Most US embassies that were shut after a wave of global terror threats from al-Qa'ida in the Arabian Peninsula will reopen today, but Washington warned that its Yemen outpost would remain closed due to "ongoing concerns" in the region.

The State Department reopened 18 out of 19 diplomatic missions that were closed due to security threats following an increased use of drones to attack suspected members of the terror group in Yemen and Saudi Arabia. US officials now consider AQAP to be the single most dangerous terror threat to the West.

The first US drone strike on Yemen occurred in 2002, after which there was a nine-year gap. In the past year, though, there have been 20 attacks on Yemeni targets, 15 of which have occurred in the past six months.

The latest caused the deaths of at least seven suspected Saudi militants this week, which analysts said indicated Saudis were crossing the border into Yemen to carry funds or "seek terrorist training".

On Thursday three airstrikes in Yemen killed 12 suspected militants, according to US officials. They said the strikes had been launched in mountainous areas where terrorists are said to "enjoy protection" of anti-government tribes.

Four of the suspected militants were killed in Wadi al-Jadd, the southern province of Hadramaut. A day before, Yemeni officials said they had foiled a major AQAP plot against oil pipelines and ports.

There have been more than 300 casualties from drone strikes in Yemen, the ancestral homeland of Osama bin Laden, since 2002.

Washington evacuated most of its personnel from Lahore, Pakistan's second-largest city, and the Yemeni capital of Sana'a. Since the end of June, US drone attacks in Yemen's southern and central provinces have killed a total of 34 suspected militants, but human rights campaigners claim innocent lives have been lost in the attacks.

One senior Yemeni official said yesterday that AQAP was recruiting "tech-savvy and well-educated" Saudis and Pakistanis – including Ragaa Bin Ali, a bomb-maker from Pakistan killed in a recent drone attack.

While the US drone programme in Yemen is becoming increasing controversial and attacked by human rights campaigners, the US government continues to refuse to discuss individual strikes.

Earlier this year, President Obama announced he hoped to wind down the war on terror and claimed stricter guidelines would be put in place for the use of drones. "America does not take strikes to punish individuals," he said.

But at a White House conference on Friday he refused to discuss the wave of recent attacks. He said: "I will not have a discussion about operational issues."

Fadl Abdullah, head of the Yemeni Organisation for Human Rights, has claimed the US is now "randomly bombing" vehicles based on information from informants and intercepted phone calls. He claimed nine civilians had been killed in recent strikes.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Web Developer - Junior / Mid Weight

£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: To support their continued grow...

Recruitment Genius: Marketing Data Specialist

£22000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They are the go-to company for ...

Recruitment Genius: Search Marketing Specialist - PPC / SEO

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join the UK's leadin...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This caravan dealership are currently recruiti...

Day In a Page

Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'
10 best statement lightbulbs

10 best statement lightbulbs

Dare to bare with some out-of-the-ordinary illumination
Wimbledon 2015: Heather Watson - 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Heather Watson: 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Briton pumped up for dream meeting with world No 1
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve
Dustin Brown: Who is the tennis player who knocked Rafael Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?

Dustin Brown

Who is the German player that knocked Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?
Ashes 2015: Damien Martyn - 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Damien Martyn: 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Australian veteran of that Ashes series, believes the hosts' may become unstoppable if they win the first Test
Tour de France 2015: Twins Simon and Adam Yates have a mountain to climb during Tour of duty

Twins have a mountain to climb during Tour of duty

Yates brothers will target the steepest sections in bid to win a stage in France
John Palmer: 'Goldfinger' of British crime was murdered, say police

Murder of the Brink’s-MAT mastermind

'Goldfinger' of British crime's life ended in a blaze of bullets, say police
Forget little green men - aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert

Forget little green men

Leading evolutionary biologist says aliens will look like humans
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: An Algerian scientist adjusts to life working in a kebab shop

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

An Algerian scientist struggles to adjust to her new life working in a Scottish kebab shop
Bodyworlds museum: Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy

Dying dream of Doctor Death

Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy