Yemen gets U.S. military assurances

May 21, 2012 at 11:31 AM

ADEN, Yemen, May 21 (UPI) -- Yemeni forces can count on support from the U.S. military in its fight against al-Qaida in the country, a military official said.

Salim Ali Qaten, head of Yemen's southern military command, met in Aden with U.S. Gen. Kenneth Tovo, head of special operations for U.S. Central Command. Tovo, according to Yemen's official Saba new agency, said Yemen's military would get the support it needs to eliminate al-Qaida from the country.

"Tovo said that the [cooperative] relations between the Yemeni and American armies would witness further development in the coming period," the report stated.

At least 120 people died following a suicide bombing of a military parade Monday in Yemen. The independent Yemen Post reports that the operation bore the hallmarks of al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, the Yemeni arm of al-Qaida.

An unidentified "expert" told the news service it was unlikely an al-Qaida operative could have gotten past the tight security surrounding the military parade without some form of assistance.

Threats from al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, the Yemeni arm of al-Qaida, have escalated since a yearlong revolt forced long-time President Ali Abdullah Saleh from office early this year. Military forces in Yemen are said to be supported by unmanned aerial vehicles operated allegedly by the CIA.

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