New CIA strike plans for Yemen

April 26, 2012 at 9:47 AM

WASHINGTON, April 26 (UPI) -- White House authority for the use of drone strikes against suspected al-Qaida targets in Yemen expands on an earlier mission, U.S. officials said.

An attack that allegedly killed an al-Qaida operative this week in Yemen's Marib province was part of a new campaign approved by the White House, The Washington Post reports, citing U.S. officials familiar with the plans.

New authority was given to the CIA and the U.S. Joint Special Operations Command to make strikes based on signal or human intelligence rather than at targets on so-called strike lists, the Post reports.

U.S. lawmakers briefed on the plans, the Post notes, expressed concern the new authority would exacerbate tensions on the ground in Yemen.

Yemeni authorities warned that al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula was planning an assault on the nation's capital. The group was allegedly responding to increased CIA drone activity over southern Yemen.

A missile allegedly fired by a CIA-operated drone killed Anwar al-Awlaki in Yemen last year. Awlaki, a U.S. national, was the ideological leader of AQAP, the Yemeni branch of the terrorist cabal.

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