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Al-Qaeda Leader Killed in Signature-Based Drone Strike

“The CIA did not know in advance that al-Qaeda’s leader in Yemen was among the suspected militants targeted in a lethal drone strike last week,” writes The Washington Post .  

“The officials said that Nasir ­al-Wuhayshi, who also served as ­al-Qaeda’s overall second-in-command, was killed in a ‘signature strike,’ in which the CIA is permitted to fire based on patterns of suspected militant activity even if the agency does not know the identities of those who could be killed. The disclosure indicates that the CIA continues to employ a controversial targeting method that the administration had signaled in 2013 that it intended to phase out.”  

“The reliance on signature strikes would help explain an increase in the pace of drone operations in Yemen over the past six months. U.S. officials said this week that the campaign has ­inflicted major damage on al-Qaeda’s franchise in that country even after joint U.S.-Yemen counter­terrorism operations on the ground were effectively suspended several months ago.”

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