Report: U.S. plans secret operation in Yemen to '\'neutralize'\' al Qaeda members
The US military and Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) are planning a large-scale covert operation in Yemen aimed at neutralizing what they believe to be a growing number of al-Qaeda fighters there, ABC News reported.
The report claimed that the USS Belleau Wood, an amphibious assault ship with ample special operations helicopter facilities, was off the Yemeni coast.
The ship, according to ABC, will be used as "a floating base" for a special operations strike force that has now been assembled in Djibouti.
According to the report, the US presence in Djibouti is concealed within a large French military base in this country.
The network quoted its sources as saying some 900 US soldiers and a dozen specialized helicopters are in Djibouti, including a contingent of the anti-terrorist Delta Force commando group.
The United States has been increasingly concerned that Yemen is becoming a safe haven for al-Qaeda fighters on the run since being driven out of Afghanistan.
Yemeni authorities still have concerns about allowing US forces to go after anyone in their country, but are secretly negotiating with Washington, ABC reported. (Albawaba.com)