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US Drone Strikes in Yemen Likely to Continue - Former CIA Officer

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The US will likely continue conducting drone strikes against al-Qaeda targets in Yemen despite its lack of presence on the ground, former US Central Intelligence Agency senior executive William Murray said.

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WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — Murray said an end to US drone strikes were “unlikely,” even though it lacks a presence on the ground in Yemen.

“If you have nobody to work with, there’s no real sense in having people out there,” Murray said of the lack of US diplomatic or military presence in Yemen at the Bipartisan Policy Center think tank on Thursday.

“That doesn’t mean that there won’t be continuing efforts to identify AQAP [al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula] operative and maybe remove them through drone strikes,” Murray added.

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Stability in Yemen has deteriorated in recent months as the government of US-backed President Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi was driven out of power in September 2014.

The United States has maintained a counterterrorism partnership with Yemen since the 2002, the early phase of the US war on terror.

Independent studies conducted by the US Bureau of Independent Journalism report that US drone strikes have taken place in Yemen since 2001, and dramatically increased under US President Barack Obama. More than 420 people have been killed in Yemen by US drone strikes.

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