Al Qaeda working on anti-US drone strategy since 2010 - report
Al Qaeda has been working up defences against US drone strikes in the Middle East since 2010, US intelligence documents reveal. (Al Bawaba/File of US air force drone)
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Al Qaeda leaders have formed a cell of experienced engineers able to disable, shoot down or hijack US drones, according to top secret US intelligence documents revealed by The Washington Post on Tuesday.
Al Qaeda's leadership is "hoping to exploit the technological vulnerabilities of a weapons system that has inflicted huge losses against the terrorist network," the Post said online.
"Although there is no evidence that Al Qaeda has forced a drone crash or successfully interfered with flight operations, US intelligence officials have closely tracked the group's persistent efforts to develop a counterdrone strategy since 2010," the report said, citing the secret documents, according to Agence France Presse.
The Qaeda leaders are keen to obtain "a technological breakthrough (that) could curb the US drone campaign, which has killed an estimated 3,000 people over the past decade," the Post reported.
US drone strikes have severely limited Qaeda operations in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Yemen and other countries.
Fuelling anti-US sentiment, the drone strikes have caused a high civilian death toll. In 2011, a drone strike in Yemen killed US citizen and Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula official Anwar Al Awlaki.
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