White House says drone strikes have killed four US citizens

The White House has launched a new effort to draw…

The White House has launched a new effort to draw a line under its controversial drone strike policy by admitting for the first time that four American citizens were among those killed by its covert attacks in Yemen and Pakistan since 2009.

In a letter to congressional leaders sent on Wednesday, attorney general Eric Holder acknowledged previously classified details of the drone attacks and promised to brief them on a new US doctrine for sanctioning such targeted killings in future.

Holder claimed one of the US citizens killed, Anwar al-Awlaki, was chief of external operations for al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (Aqap) and had been involved in plots to blow up airplanes over US soil. However, Holder said three others killed by drones – Samir Khan, Abdul Rahman Anwar al-Awlaki and Jude Kenan – were not “specifically targeted”. The second of these victims, Anwar al-Awlaki’s son, is said by campaigners to have been 16 when he died in Yemen in 2011.

The Bureau of Investigative Journalism estimates that between 240 and 347 people have been killed in total by confirmed US drone strikes in Yemen since 2002, with a further 2,541 to 3,533 killed by CIA drones in Pakistan.

Read more at The Guardian

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