The US stepped up airstrikes against al Qaeda in Yemen, as the country sinks further into crisis following weeks of protest and militant activity in the south. The covert strokes are being led by the Defense Department’s Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) and coordinated with the CIA. US defense officials maintain a command post in the capital of Sanaa.
On June 3rd fighter jets killed Abu Ali al-Harithi, an al Qaeda operative in southern Yemen. Weeks ago, drones fired hellfire missiles at Anwar al-Awlaki, the American-born cleric, but failed to kill him.
US military involvement in Yemen has been one of the Obama administration’s most closely guarded secrets, as unilateral intervention could undermine Saleh’s tenuous grip on power.