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    Saudi Arabia said to have secretly joined America’s  ‘undeclared aerial war’ against terrorists in Yemen

LAST UPDATED AT  09:44 ON Fri 4 Jan 2013

JETS from the Saudi Arabian air force have joined US forces in missions  designed to eliminate al-Qaeda militants in Yemen, raising questions about  America’s “expanding programme of targeted killings”, reports The Times.

Covert air strikes against targets in Yemen tripled last year and outnumbered  similar attacks in Pakistan for the first time. The paper says the activity is  stark evidence that the US has abandoned its “kill or capture” policy and  adopted targeted killings because the legal issues created by the arrest or  detention of hostile combatants had become “too onerous”. Yemen has become a  “template” for the elimination of militant threats worldwide, it says.

The death toll from the surgical strikes by US and Saudi jets in Yemen may be  as high as 228 people, the Times says. Some of the attacks which have been  described as “drone strikes” are actually missions carried out by Saudi  aircraft.

The US is able to operate in Yemen with relative ease because the country’s  president, Abd-Rabbu Mansour, is co-operative and “officially claims  responsibility” for every drone strike that occurs in his territory. However,  Mansour has not admitted publicly that some of the strikes are being carried  out, not by the US, but the Saudis.

Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), the branch active in Yemen, is  regarded as one of the terrorist organisation’s most deadly wings, says American Thinker. AQAP has offered a reward of $160,000 in  gold to anyone who kills America’s ambassador to Yemen or any US soldier  stationed in the country.

Drone attacks in the region are continuing unabated according to reports. An  AQAP commander and two fighters were killed in the central Yemen province of  Baydah yesterday by the first drone strike of year, says Longwarjournal. ·

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