An American newspaper says the U.S. military has conducted nearly a dozen secret raids against al-Qaida and other terrorist groups in Syria, Pakistan and other countries since 2004.
The New York Times cites anonymous U.S. senior officials in its report Monday saying the raids were authorized by a classified order given by then-Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and approved by President George Bush.
The Times says the order gave the military new authority to attack al-Qaida any place in the world, and to conduct operations in countries not at war with the United States.
The paper says the order identifies 15 to 20 countries where al-Qaida militants were believed to be operating or to have sought sanctuary. Those countries include Syria, Pakistan, Yemen, Saudi Arabia and several other Persian Gulf states.
The report says no raids had been carried out in Iran under the order. But it says officials suggested the U.S. had done reconnaissance in Iran under other classified directives.
"The New York Times" says some of the military raids have been conducted in close cooperation with the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency.
The paper says in one operation, Navy special forces, Navy Seals, raided a suspected militants' compound in Pakistan's Bajaur region, along the Afghan border. It says U.S. officials watched the video-taped mission in real time at CIA headquarters, just outside Washington in the state of Virginia.