The US military turned on President Obama this week when they admitted for the first time that there are indeed troops in Yemen trying to help the country’s government. Defense department spokesman Jeff Davis said on Friday that a small amount of military personnel have teamed up with Yemeni and Arab Coalition forces to push al-Qaeda out of the area and into the Arabian peninsula.
Obama definitely didn’t want this information leaked to the public…
The Pentagon has stepped up air strikes against the jihadists in the war-torn country, Davis said.
“This is of great interest to us. It does not serve our interests to have a terrorist organization in charge of a port city, and so we are assisting in that,” the spokesman added.
He said the troops were helping Emirati forces with “intelligence support”, but declined to say if they are special operations forces.
While the number of US personnel on the ground is limited, the US is also offering an array of assistance to partners in Yemen, including air-to-air refueling capabilities, surveillance, planning, maritime security and medical help.
The US Navy also has several ships nearby, including an amphibious assault ship called the USS Boxer and two destroyers.
AQAP took advantage of the chaos of fighting between pro-government forces and Iran-backed rebels to expand its control in southern Yemen, including the seizure of Mukalla in April last year.
The Pentagon announced it has carried out a recent string of strikes on AQAP in recent weeks, outside of Mukalla.
“We have conducted four counterterrorism strikes against AQAP since 23 April, killing 10 Al-Qaeda operatives and injuring another,” Davis said.
The US periodically conducts such attacks on AQAP targets in Yemen, including a strike in March on a training camp that killed more than 70 fighters.
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