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Report: US Involved in Secret Operations in Yemen

Members of the Yemeni anti-terror unit secure an area outside a court where suspected al-Qaida members were on trial in Sana'a, 26 Jan 2010

A U.S. newspaper is reporting that U.S. military and intelligence agencies are involved in joint secret operations with Yemeni troops that have killed six top leaders of the Yemen-based wing of al-Qaida.

The report comes just before a high-level international meeting is being held in London Wednesday to discuss Yemen's fight against al-Qaida.

The Washington Post
says U.S. President Barack Obama approved the secret operations six weeks ago. The newspaper says American advisers do not take part in the Yemen raids, but help plan the missions and provide weapons.

The report says President Obama approved a December 24 strike against a compound where a U.S. citizen was believed to be meeting with al-Qaida leaders.

The U.S. citizen was not killed in the attack, but has since been added to a list of Americans to be killed or captured by the U.S. military's Joint Special Operations Command.

Delegations from 21 countries are expected to participate in the London conference, including U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, U.N. officials and Arab representatives.

The talks come about a month after the failed Christmas Day, December 25, bombing attempt on a U.S.-bound passenger jet. Al-Qaida's branch in Yemen, al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, claimed responsibility for the failed attack.

On Tuesday, Yemeni leaders stressed opposition to foreign military intervention in Yemen's efforts to combat al-Qaida. Tribal leaders, prominent sheiks and parliamentarians rejected any foreign military intervention during a gathering in the capital, Sana'a.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.