Double Standards regarding Yemen attack
BBC News Wednesday, 6 November, 2002, 01:53 GMT
US 'still opposes' targeted killings
The United States has said it still opposes Israel's policy of targeted
assassinations, despite its apparent use of the same tactic to kill six
al-Qaeda suspects in Yemen on Sunday.
"Our policy on targeted killings in the Israeli-Palestinian context has not
changed," US State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said.
Mr Boucher refused to talk about the Yemen attack, but said that
Washington's reasons for opposing the targeted killings of Palestinians
might not apply in other circumstances.
Earlier, US officials said that America's Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)
had carried out the Yemen attack, which reportedly killed senior al-Qaeda
operative Ali Qaed Senyan al-Harthi.
But neither the CIA, nor President George W Bush would comment publicly on
the reports on the CIA's involvement.
The Yemen attack - apparently by an unmanned CIA plane - was similar to
Israel's air raids on Palestinian militants, and the BBC's Nick Childs at
the Pentagon says US officials now face some awkward questions about their
opposition to Israeli actions.
Israel insists that its policy of targeted killings is pre-emptive
self-defence, while Palestinians describe the killings as assassinations
which violate basic human rights.
But using carefully chosen language, Mr Boucher denied allegation that by
staging the Yemen operation the US may be using double standards towards
"We all understand the situation with regard to Israeli-Palestinian issues
and the prospects of peace and the prospects of negotiation... and of the
need to create an atmosphere for progress.
"A lot of different things come into play there."
President Bush has repeatedly stressed his determination to destroy
al-Qaeda, saying that "the only way to treat them is [for] what they are -
Our correspondent says that a Bush administration officials told the BBC
that the US was engaged in a war, and that it was dealing with enemy
American officials have praised the Yemeni attack, which US Deputy Defence
Secretary Paul Wolfowitz described in an interview with CNN as "a very
successful tactical operation".
"One hopes each time you get a success like that, not only to have gotten
rid of somebody dangerous, but to have imposed changes in their tactics and
The six al-Qaeda suspects died when the jeep they were travelling in was hit
by a missile fired from an unmanned CIA plane - believed to be a Predator
The attack took place in the northern province of Marib, about 160
kilometres (100 miles) east of the capital Sana'a, and a Hellfire missile
was reportedly used.
Yemeni sources said those killed included Ali Qaed Senyan al-Harthi, whom
the US has linked to the attack on the warship USS Cole off Aden in October
The Yemeni Government has not yet confirmed Harthi's death, but Yemeni
officials said he had been under surveillance for months and intelligence
had been passed on to the Americans.
Created By: Colm Campbell