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    Since his inauguration, President Obama has ordered almost nine times as many drone strikes as his predecessor George W. Bush did. Above: US MQ-9 Reaper drone in flight

    US Drones Have Killed More People Than the Inquisition

    © Photo : US Air Force / Staff Sgt. Brian Ferguson
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    Since his inauguration, President Obama has ordered almost nine times as many drone strikes as his predecessor George W. Bush did.

    Drone attacks carried out by US forces outside its stated war zones have resulted in at least 2,464 deaths since Obama took office in January 2009, at least 314 of whom were civilians, according to statistics from a UK research organization.

    "The covert Obama strikes, the first of which hit Pakistan just three days after his inauguration, have killed almost six times more people and twice as many civilians than those ordered in the Bush years," the Bureau of Investigation Journalism said in its report, which was published at the beginning of this month.

    The analyzed data relates to strikes in countries outside the US's declared areas of conflict in Iraq and Afghanistan, and details a recent intensification in the US drone campaigns in the month of January, particularly in Pakistan and Yemen.

    In Somalia, the Bureau reports, between 45 and 69 people were reported killed in two strikes carried out on January 31 targeting al Shabaab fighters. The second strike was said to have killed at least five people, with one local resident telling AFP that four civilians were among those wounded in the attack. It is not known if they died from their injuries.

    Two drone attacks were reportedly carried out in Yemen in the last week of January, the first of which was confirmed by the CIA. Between three and seven people were reported to have been killed by the two strikes. According to the Yemen Times, one of the victims of the confirmed strike was a 13-year-old boy.

    Pakistan saw a surge in drone strikes in January, which saw the most drone killings since July 2014. Five strikes carried out by the CIA resulted in between 26 and 37 deaths, four of which were carried out in the Shawal area, close to the border with Afghanistan, thought to be a stronghold for armed militant groups.

    A survey of Pakistani public opinion carried out by the Pew Research Center in Spring 2014 found that 66 percent of those questioned disapproved of drone strikes, while only 3 percent approved; 74 percent of respondents said they think drones kill too many innocent people.

    The US continues to be one of only a handful of countries where public opinion in favor of strikes by unmanned aerial vehicles outweighs disapproval of their use. According to research from Pew carried out in Spring 2014, more than half those polled in the US, Kenya and Israel supported drone strikes, while in 39 of 44 countries surveyed, majorities or pluralities of those questioned opposed the strategy. The Center also noted that public opposition towards drone campaigns has increased in many nations since a survey carried out the previous year.

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    Tags:
    Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), drone strike, drones, Bureau of Investigation Journalism, Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen, Pakistan, United States
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