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Sunday, 10 November, 2002, 22:50 GMT
US defends Yemen strike
Wreckage from the attack
A CIA drone fired the missile which destroyed this vehicle
President George W Bush has given broad authority to US officials to launch attacks like the one in Yemen which killed six al-Qaeda suspects, his national security adviser Condoleezza Rice has said.

She declared this raised no constitutional issues, given the "new kind of war" the US is fighting.


We're fighting on lots of different fronts

Condoleezza Rice
In last Monday's strike in Marib province, an unmanned aircraft operated by the CIA fired a missile destroying a car carrying the six men.

The men were said to have been responsible for the bombing of a US warship in Aden harbour two years ago.

According to US media reports, one of the six was a US citizen with links to an alleged terror cell uncovered by police in New York state in September.

Human rights groups have questioned the legitimacy of the attack.

Extrajudicial

Speaking on Fox News, Ms Rice said President Bush acted within the accepted practice and the letter of his constitutional authority in allowing such attacks.

"The president has given broad authority to a variety of people to do what they have to do to protect this country," she said.

"It's a new kind of war. We're fighting on a lot of different fronts."

However she declined to say who ordered last week's strike.

Al-Qaeda suspect Ali Qaed Senyan al-Harthi
Harthi was a key suspect in the attack on the USS Cole
Amnesty International wrote to Mr Bush on Friday, questioning Washington's role in the missile attack.

"If this was the deliberate killing of suspects in lieu of arrest in circumstances in which they did not pose an immediate threat, the killings would be extra-judicial executions in violation of international human rights law," a statement said.

One of the dead, Qaed Senyan al-Harthi, also known as Abu Ali, was a major suspect in the attack on the USS Cole in October 2000 that left 17 US sailors dead.

Personal documents, weapons and satellite telecommunication devices were said to have been discovered in the ruined car, Yemeni officials said.

Fight against terror

The US embassy in the Yemeni capital, Sanaa, which was closed to the public for security reasons after the missile strike, has re-opened.

Security measures were boosted around the extensive complex which was surrounded by concrete blocks and guarded by Yemeni troops in vehicles mounted with heavy machine guns, AFP reported.

Washington holds Osama Bin Laden and his al-Qaeda network responsible for the attack on the USS Cole as well as the 11 September attacks in the US.

Exactly two years after the Cole was rammed by a boat laden with explosives, a French oil tanker was attacked and holed off the Yemeni coast.

The tanker attack is a drastic blow to Yemen's economy, costing it about $3.8 million a month in lost business and extra insurance premiums, the US State Department has said.

The US believes al-Qaeda members went into hiding in Yemen after the collapse of the Taleban in Afghanistan last year, and has been pressing the Yemeni authorities to take tougher action in the "war against terror".

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Christen Thomson
"The United States says it is re-writing the rule book for a new world"

Key stories

European probe

Background

IN DEPTH
See also:

07 Nov 02 | Middle East
06 Nov 02 | Middle East
05 Nov 02 | Middle East
05 Nov 02 | Middle East
30 Oct 02 | Middle East
03 Aug 02 | From Our Own Correspondent
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