Three sus­pected mil­i­tants killed in Ye­men drone strike

Daily Trust - - WORLD - Teams have been bring­ing bod­ies re­cov­ered from the sunken ferry ashore to Jindo is­land.

South Korean Pres­i­dent Park Geun-hye has con­demned the con­duct of some of the crew of the ferry that sank last week, call­ing it “akin to mur­der”.

Ms Park said that those to blame would have to take “crim­i­nal and civil” re­spon­si­bil­ity for their ac­tions.

Divers are con­tin­u­ing to re­cover bod­ies from the ferry, as they gain ac­cess to more of the sub­merged hull.

The death toll now stands at 64 with 238 people still miss­ing, most of them stu­dents from a school near Seoul.

Bod­ies are be­ing brought two or three at a time back to Jindo, a south­ern is­land close to where the ferry sank.

Po­lice, mean­while, have been given ac­cess to hun­dreds of mes­sages sent by pas­sen­gers and crew so they can con­struct a de­tailed chronol­ogy of the ferry’s last hour.

Ms Park, whose govern­ment has faced crit­i­cism over its ini­tial re­sponse to the dis­as­ter, told aides that the ac­tions of the cap­tain and some of the crew “were ut­terly in­com­pre­hen­si­ble, un­ac­cept­able and tan­ta­mount to mur­der”, the pres­i­den­tial of­fice said.

“The cap­tain did not com­ply with pas­sen­ger evac­u­a­tion or­ders from the ves­sel traf­fic ser­vice... and es­caped ahead of oth­ers while telling pas­sen­gers to keep their seats. This is some­thing that is never imag­in­able legally or eth­i­cally,” she said.

Those who had bro­ken the law or “aban­doned their re­spon­si­bil­i­ties” would be held to ac­count re­gard­less of rank, she said. Three more sus­pected al-Qaeda mil­i­tants have been killed in a drone strike in south­ern Ye­men, lo­cal of­fi­cials say.

The men were trav­el­ling in a car in Shabwa prov­ince early on Mon­day when it was hit by a mis­sile and de­stroyed.

Wit­nesses told the AFP news agency that a he­li­copter ar­rived soon af­ter­wards to re­trieve their bod­ies, sug­gest­ing one might have been a se­nior mil­i­tant.

More than 40 mil­i­tants are now be­lieved to have been killed in a se­ries of drone strikes over the past three days.

On Sun­day, drones fired mis­siles at al-Qaeda in the Ara­bian Penin­sula (AQAP) train­ing camps in the re­mote, moun­tain­ous area of Wadi Ghad­ina, in the neigh­bour­ing prov­ince of Abyan, killing about 30.

An of­fi­cial source at the High Se­cu­rity Com­mit­tee was cited by the state news agency, Saba, as say­ing those tar­geted were “leading and dan­ger­ous el­e­ments” of al-Qaeda and were of var­i­ous na­tion­al­i­ties.

The oper­a­tion was based on “cer­tain in­tel­li­gence in­for­ma­tion that ter­ror­ist el­e­ments were train­ing in those camps and plan­ning to tar­get vi­tal civil­ian and mil­i­tary fa­cil­i­ties”, the of­fi­cial added.

On Satur­day, a drone strike on a lorry in the cen­tral prov­ince of Bayda killed an­other 10 sus­pected mil­i­tants and three civil­ians, ac­cord­ing to Saba. Of­fi­cials said in­tel­li­gence had sug­gested that AQAP planned to at­tack mil­i­tary and civil­ian sites in the city of Bayda.

The US car­ries out drone strikes in Ye­men in sup­port of the govern­ment’s ef­forts to tackle AQAP and its al­lies, but typ­i­cally does not com­ment.

The at­tacks come days af­ter a video was posted on­line show­ing AQAP leader Nasser al-Wuhayshi telling a large gath­er­ing of mil­i­tants in Ye­men that the ji­hadist group would fight Western “Cru­saders” every­where.

“O broth­ers, the Cru­sader en­emy is still shuf­fling his pa­pers, so we must re­mem­ber that we are al­ways fight­ing the big­gest en­emy, the lead­ers of dis­be­lief, and we have to over­throw those lead­ers, we have to re­move the Cross, and the car­rier of the Cross is Amer­ica,” he de­clared.

On Sun­day, the chair­man of the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Com­mit­tee on Home­land Se­cu­rity, Michael McCaul, said AQAP posed “prob­a­bly the great­est ex­ter­nal threat” to the US.

“And so I think the fact the ad­min­is­tra­tion now is go­ing ag­gres­sively against these ter­ror­ists... is a very pos­i­tive sign,” he told ABC News.

The US car­ries out drone strikes in Ye­men in sup­port of the govern­ment’s ef­forts to tackle al-Qaeda.

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