It appears that Yemen is emerging as a focal point in the U.S. government's ongoing war against terror. For the second time in a week, an attack against suspected al Qaeda operatives was launched in Yemen with U.S. support, sources tell ABC News. A radical imam associated with the suspect in the recent Fort Hood massacre could be among the dead.
Thursday, Yemen's embassy in Washington, D.C., released a statement confirming the attack. "Today, Yemeni fighter jets launched an aerial assault at 4:30 a.m., on a remote location in the province of Shabwa," Yemeni officials said. "The assault targeted a meeting of senior al Qaeda operatives, 403 miles southeast of Sana'a, the capital of Yemen. Preliminary reports suggest that the strike targeted scores of Yemeni and foreign al Qaeda operatives."
Among those targeted: Nasser Al-Wuhayshi, the regional al Qaeda leader and his deputy, Saeed Al-Shihri. Also presumed to be at the gathering of suspected militants, Anwar Al-Awlaki, the radical imam who exchanged e-mails with Nidal Hasan, the U.S. Army officer accused of murdering soldiers at Fort Hood. In a series of recent interviews, the imam said that Hasan had discussed with him whether it was appropriate to kill U.S. soldiers.
U.S. officials told ABC News Thursday they were hopeful those targeted had been killed, but still were awaiting official confirmation.
The assault came just a week after a series of attacks at the direction of President Obama himself, sources tell ABC News. White House officials told ABC News that the orders for the U.S. military to attack the suspected al Qaeda sites in Yemen last week came directly from the Oval Office. The action represented a major escalation by Obama in his efforts to go after the terror group in yet another country. The U.S. military used cruise missiles in the attacks on two separate locations in Yemen.