US airstrike kills 8 AQAP terrorists in Yemen

An Emirati gunner watches for enemy fire in Yemen. A US airstrike in Yemen killed eight operatives of Al-Qaeda. (AP)
Updated 29 April 2017
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US airstrike kills 8 AQAP terrorists in Yemen

WASHINGTON: A US airstrike in Yemen killed on Sunday eight operatives of Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), including a key leader, said the Pentagon.
Navy Capt. Jeff Davis, a spokesman, said the airstrike on April 23 killed Abu Ahmed Awlaqi, who had led AQAP operations in Shabwa province. Davis said he was a plotter of external attacks and had facilitated the extremist group’s transfer of weapons and explosives.
Davis said seven other AQAP operatives also were killed in the airstrike.
The strike targeted a car in which the suspects were traveling in the Rawda region of Shabwa province, according to a Yemeni official who preferred anonymity.
Since President Donald Trump took office in January, the US has intensified its air war against AQAP, regarded by Washington as the most dangerous branch of the extremist group.
The Pentagon said on April 3 that it had carried out more than 70 strikes against terror targets in Yemen since Feb. 28.
Al-Qaeda has taken advantage of the chaos caused by more than two years of civil war to expand its presence in Yemen.


Iran lawmakers authorize firm action against US ‘terrorist’ acts

Updated 18 min 9 sec ago
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Iran lawmakers authorize firm action against US ‘terrorist’ acts

  • President Donald Trump on April 8 designated the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps a foreign terrorist group
  • Tehran reacted to the designation by naming the US Central Command a terrorist organization

DUBAI: Iran’s parliament passed a bill on Tuesday requiring the government take firm steps to respond to “terrorist actions” by US forces, state TV reported, retaliating against Washington’s blacklisting of the country’s elite Revolutionary Guards.
President Donald Trump on April 8 designated the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) a foreign terrorist group, in an unprecedented step that drew Iranian condemnation and raised concerns about retaliatory attacks on US forces.
Tehran reacted to the designation, which took effect on April 15, by naming the US Central Command (CENTCOM) a terrorist organization and the US government a sponsor of terrorism.
“The bill authorizes the government to take firm and retaliatory measures against terrorist activities of American forces that endangers Iran’s interests,” TV reported.
“The government should use legal, political and diplomatic measures in response to the American actions.”
Highly loyal to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the IRGC is a powerful force which controls much of the Iranian economy and wields political influence in the country’s faction-ridden clerical establishment.
The semi-official Tasnim news agency said some 168 lawmakers out of 210 present at the parliament voted for the bill.
Tensions have been on the rise between Tehran and Washington since last year, when Trump withdrew from a 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and six major powers and reimposed sanctions on the country.
In recent years, there have been periodic confrontations between the IRGC and US military in the Gulf.
The new chief commander of the IRGC Hossein Salami, appointed after the US blacklisting, has warned in the past that Iran could use its cruise and ballistic missiles and drones, mines, speedboats, and missile launchers in the Gulf area to confront the United States.
The Trump administration, which has taken a hard line on Iran, said in a statement on Monday that the president has decided not to reissue waivers in May allowing importers to buy Iranian oil without facing US sanctions.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said the heightening economic pressure on Iran showed that Washington was in panic.
“Escalating #EconomicTERRORISM against Iranians exposes panic & desperation of US regime — and chronic failures of its client co-conspirators,” Zarif Tweeted on Tuesday.
A commander of Iran’s IRGC said on Monday that Tehran would block all exports through the Strait of Hormuz in the Gulf if Tehran is barred from using the waterway, where a fifth of global oil consumption passes on its way from Middle East producers to major markets.