Last updated at: (Beijing Time) Tuesday, November 05, 2002
US Predator Drone Kills Six Al Qaeda Suspects
The CIA used an unmanned Predator drone to blow up a car carrying six suspected al Qaeda operatives in Yemen on Sunday. All that was left of the car was rubble in the desert. U.S. sources said the cars was destroyed by a Hellfire missile launched from the Predator surveillance plane.
The CIA used an unmanned Predator drone to blow up a car carrying six suspected al Qaeda operatives in Yemen on Sunday.
The passengers were believed to include a man linked to the bombing of the USS Cole two years ago, sources said.
He was identified as Qaed Senyan al-Harthi, also known as Abu Ali. Sources said he was considered al Qaeda's top man in Yemen.
All that was left of the car was rubble in the desert. U.S. sources said the cars was destroyed by a Hellfire missile launched from the Predator surveillance plane.
Officials said the CIA, using American and Yemeni agents on the ground - and the Predator overhead - had been tracking the suspect for weeks, waiting for the right moment.
'It Would Be a Very Good Thing'
Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld refused to comment on who shot the missile, but left no doubt how he felt about the death of al-Harthi.
"He's been an individual that has been sought after as an al Qaeda member as well as a suspected terrorist connected to the USS Cole," Rumsfeld said. "So it would be a very good thing if he were out of business."
The Cole was bombed in the Yemeni port of Aden in October 2000 by attackers who rammed the vessel with an explosives-packed inflatable boat, killing 17 U.S. sailors.
The CIA launched Sunday's missile attack, sources said, because the government of Yemen could not.
It was carried out in a tribal area called Marib 100 miles east of the capital, San'a, where 19 Yemeni soldiers were killed last year as they tried to raid a suspected al Qaeda stronghold, sources said.
Since the United States has driven so many al Qaeda fighters out of Afghanistan, American officials have been increasingly concerned that Yemen - the ancestral home of Osama bin Laden's father - would become a safe haven for terrorists on the run.
Parts of Yemen remain beyond control of the central government, especially the vast eastern third of the country known as the Hadramawt.