TERRORISM

2014

Materials presented chronologically.

Jamjoom, Mohammed. "Source: 'Massive and Unprecedented' Attack Targets al Qaeda in Yemen." CNN, 21 Apr. 2014. [http://www.cnn.com]

According to a high-level Yemeni government official, a "massive and unprecedented" operation targeting al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) is under way in Yemen. "The ongoing operation included a [20 April 2014] night ambush in which Yemeni special forces killed militants believed to be high-value targets" in AQAP. "Also [on 20 April], suspected U.S. drone strikes targeted al Qaeda fighters in Yemen for the second time in two days, killing at least a dozen [including "foreign nationals"], the government official said.... The high-level Yemeni government official said [the 20 April] raid was a joint U.S.-Yemeni operation."

Associated Press, 21 Apr. 2014, adds the 20 and 21 April attacks "Yemeni forces, reportedly backed by U.S. drone strikes," were on "a major base of the terror group hidden in the remote southern mountains.... The sprawling base was a rare instance of a permanent infrastructure set up by [AQAP] in the country.... Built over the past months, it includes a training ground, storehouses for weapons and food and vehicles used by the group to launch attacks," Yemeni security officials said.

Mohammed Jamjoom and Barbara Starr, "Official: Extensive U.S. Involvement in Anti-terror Operation in Yemen," CNN, 22 Apr. 2014, quote a U.S. official as stating that "[t]he United States offered extensive assistance beyond drone strikes during a massive anti-terror operation in Yemen, including flying Yemeni commandos to a site where they killed scores of suspected al Qaeda members.... The U.S. official would not specify whether the American personnel involved were among the U.S. military's special forces, worked for the CIA or were contractors."

Schmitt. Eric. "U.S. Drones and Yemeni Forces Kill Qaeda-Linked Fighters, Officials Say." New York Times, 22 Apr. 2014, A4. [http://www.nytimes.com]

"American drones and Yemeni counterterrorism forces killed more than three dozen militants linked to Al Qaeda's affiliate in Yemen over the weekend in one of the largest such attacks there in months, officials from both countries said" on 21 April 2014. "The precise role of the United States in the airstrikes and ground operations was not immediately clear. American officials said the airstrikes had been carried out by drones operated by the Central Intelligence Agency.... Other officials said American Special Operations military personnel had supported the Yemeni operations on the ground with intelligence and possibly logistical assistance."

Khan, Ismail, and Declan Walsh. "Missile Strike by C.I.A. Drone Kills at Least 4, Pakistan Reports." New York Times, 12 Jun. 2014. [http://www.nytimes.com]

"Ending a five-month hiatus," the CIA "resumed its drone campaign in Pakistan on [11 June 2014] with a missile strike that killed at least four people at a compound in the tribal district of North Waziristan, Pakistani officials said."

Declan Walsh and Ismail Khan, "U.S. Drone Hits Pakistan for 2nd Time in 12 Hours," New York Times, 13 Jun. 2014, A6, reports a second U.S. drone strike on a militant compound in Pakistan's tribal area on 12 June 2014. The strike reportedly killed "at least 10 suspected members of the Haqqani network." See also, Haq Nawaz Khan, "Pakistani Officials Report the First U.S. Drone Strikes in Six Months," Washington Post, 12 Jun. 2014.

Khan, Ismail. "U.S. Drone Kills Militants in Pakistan." New York Times, 20 Jul. 2014, A11. [http://www.nytimes.com]

"Fifteen militants were killed early [19 July 2014] when an American drone struck a compound in the Pakistani tribal region of North Waziristan, according to local residents and a security official. It was the fourth known drone strike in the region since Pakistan launched a military operation there last month."

Khan, Ismail, and Declan Walsh. "U.S. Drone Strike Kills 6 in Pakistani Tribal Area." New York Times, 6 Aug. 2014. [http://www.nytimes.com]

A U.S. drone strike in the North Waziristan tribal district on 6 August 2014 "killed at least six people, Pakistani officials and local residents said. It was the latest in a series of strikes by C.I.A.-operated drone aircraft to coincide with a major offensive by the Pakistani military in the area."

Goldman, Adam, and Karen DeYoung. "U.S. Staged Secret Operation into Syria in Failed Bid to Rescue Americans." Washington Post, 20 Aug. 2014. [http://www.washingtonpost.com]

According to two senior officials authorized by the White House to speak anonymously, "U.S. Special Operations forces staged an unsuccessful operation this summer [other reporting places the time as on or around 4 July 2014] to rescue photojournalist James Foley and other Americans being held in Syria by Islamic State militants." The hostages were not present at the targeted location.

One of the officials said the operation "was conducted by a joint force with virtually every service represented," including "special operators and aircraft both rotary and fixed-wing," with surveillance aircraft overhead. The official "said that there were a 'good number' of militant casualties at the site but that one U.S. service member received a 'minor injury when one aircraft did take some fire.'"

"Other current and former U.S. officials, who were not part of the briefing, said ... that U.S. forces landed modified, heavily armed Black Hawk helicopters flown by the Army's 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment" (SOAR), known as the "Night Stalkers."

See also, Karen DeYoung, "The Anatomy of a Failed Hostage Rescue Deep into Islamic State Territory," Washington Post, 14 Feb. 2015.

Miller, Greg. "U.S. Strikes in Syria against Islamic State Would Be Hindered by Intelligence Gaps." Washington Post, 23 Aug. 2014. [http://www.washingtonpost.com]

According to U.S. officials, a U.S. offensive in Syria against ISIS/ISIL/Islamic State "would likely be constrained by persistent intelligence gaps and an inability to rely on fleets of armed drones.... The Pentagon has conducted daily surveillance flights along Iraq's border with Syria in recent weeks.... The CIA has also expanded its network of informants inside Syria, largely by recruiting and vetting rebel fighters who have been trained and equipped at clandestine agency bases in Jordan over the past two years, U.S. officials said."

Associated Press. "CIA Ramps Up Cooperation with Jordan Amid Islamic State Attack Fears." 9 Sep. 2014. [http://usmarines.einnews.com]

"The U.S. is stepping up its intelligence cooperation with Jordan,... concerned that the Arab country could be vulnerable to the Islamic State militant group." According to two former agency officials, "[t]he CIA has approached" Robert Richer, "a retired former agency official with close ties to King Abdullah II[,] about setting up a special task force to help Jordan deal with the threat from the Islamic State group."

Ryan, Missy, and Adam Goldman. "Hagel: U.S. Hostage 'Murdered' in Yemen." Washington Post, 6 Dec. 2014. [http://www.washingtonpost.com]

A statement by Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said that Al-Qaeda terrorists in Yemen killed American journalist Luke Somers after U.S. special operations forces staged an operation in central Yemen on 5 December 2014 to free him after his AQAP captors had threatened to execute him. A U.S. official confirmed that a second person killed by AQAP during the rescue attempt was South African.

A report by Jim Sciutto, Joshua Berlinger, and Ben Brumfield, "Al Qaeda Kills Hostages during SEALs Raid on Yemen, Hagel Says," CNN, 6 Dec. 2014, adds that "[t]wo Osprey aircraft transported a team of about three dozen U.S. Navy SEALs, mainly from SEAL Team Six, and a combat medical team near the captives' location. There were no Yemeni forces with the U.S. commandos." However, Kareem Fahim and Eric Schmitt, "2 Hostages Killed in Yemen as U.S. Rescue Effort Fails," New York Times, 7 Dec. 2014, A1, reports that "[th]he SEAL Team 6 commandos [were] joined by a small number of Yemeni counterterrorism troops."

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