The al Qaeda branch in Yemen, considered to be the most dangerous branch, has issued a bounty for the killing of the U.S. ambassador or any U.S. soldier in the country. The Associated Press reported the group issued a statement saying the bounties were “to inspire and encourage our Muslim nation for jihad.” The bounty for the ambassador is approximately $160,000 in gold and $23,000 in Yemeni riyals for the killing of an American soldier.
This news comes along with reports that there has been an increase in “suspected” U.S. drone strikes in Yemen this week. An article from CBS reported three members of al Qaeda were killed in the latest strike on Saturday, bringing the number to an unusually high four suspected strikes in one week.
“According to statistics gathered by the Long War Journal before Saturday’s attacks, the United States ‘is known to have carried out 41 airstrikes’ this year against al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), as the group’s branch in Yemen is known. That makes for an average of around three to four strikes per month,” said the article.
AQAP has control of much of the region and are suspected in the assassinations and kidnappings of high ranking military and intelligence officials in Yemen over the past year.
CBS said reports claim “that since December 2009, the CIA and the US military’s Joint Special Operations Command are known to have conducted at least 54 air and missile strikes inside Yemen, excluding Saturday’s suspected attack,” and added, “Backed by the U.S. military, Yemen’s army was able to regain control of the southern region but al Qaeda militants continue to launch deadly attacks on security forces that have killed hundreds.”
Yemen’s strategic location next to Saudi Arabia and the oil shipping lanes makes the instability in the country and the violence of the AQAP branch major security concerns of the United States.
Read the full CBS article here: