Obama Ordered U.S. Military Strike on Yemen Terrorists

Cruise missiles hit suspected al Qaeda sites in big escalation of U.S. efforts.

ByABC News
December 18, 2009, 3:01 PM

— -- On orders from President Barack Obama, the U.S. military launched cruise missiles early Thursday against two suspected al-Qaeda sites in Yemen, administration officials told ABC News in a report broadcast on ABC World News with Charles Gibson.

One of the targeted sites was a suspected al Qaeda training camp north of the capitol, Sanaa, and the second target was a location where officials said "an imminent attack against a U.S. asset was being planned."

The Yemen attacks by the U.S. military represent a major escalation of the Obama administration's campaign against al Qaeda.

In his speech about added troops for Afghanistan earlier this month, President Obama made a brief reference to Yemen, saying, "Where al Qaeda and its allies attempt to establish a foothold -- whether in Somalia or Yemen or elsewhere -- they must be confronted by growing pressure and strong partnerships."

Until tonight, American officials had hedged about any U.S. role in the strikes against Yemen and news reports from Yemen attributed the attacks to the Yemen Air Force.

President Obama placed a call after the strikes to "congratulate" the President of Yemen, Ali Abdallah Salih, on his efforts against al Qaeda, according to White House officials.

Until tonight, American officials had hedged about any U.S. role in the strikes against Yemen and news reports from Yemen attributed the attacks to the Yemen Air Force.

President Obama placed a call after the strikes to \"congratulate\" the President of Yemen, Ali Abdallah Salih, on his efforts against al Qaeda, according to White House officials.","publishedDate":"2009-12-18T20:01:33Z","contributors":[{"name":"ABC News","url":"","role":"","logo":"","logoAlt":""}],"modifiedDate":"2009-12-19T01:07:35Z","section":"Blotter","wordCount":201,"relatedTags":{"heading":"Related Topics","tags":[]},"lead":{"ratio":"16x9","disableForMobile":false,"type":"immersive","mediaType":"image"},"ads":{"Sticky":{"disabled":false,"kvps":{"test":true}},"RightRail":{"disabled":false,"kvps":{"test":true}},"InlineOutstream":{"disabled":false},"Taboola":{"position":"bottom","pageType":"article","config":{"network":"abcnews-abcnews","mode":"thumbnails-a","container":"taboola-below-article-thumbnails","type":"article","targetType":"mix","placement":"Below Article Thumbnails"}}},"featuredVideo":null,"featuredTags":{"tags":[]},"dateline":"—","seo":{"JSONLD":{"videoObject":{"name":"","description":"","uploadDate":"","thumbnailUrl":[null,null,null],"url":"","contentUrl":"","publisher":{"name":"ABC News","logo":{"url":"","@type":"ImageObject"},"@type":"Organization"},"mainEntityOfPage":{"@type":"WebPage","id":""},"duration":""}}},"LivePromotion":{}}},"balanceOfPower":{"balanceOfPower":{"electoral":{"header":"Biden Projected to be President-Elect","candidates":{"democrats":{"id":1036,"displayName":"Joe Biden","shortDisplayName":"J. 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