US covert military raids authorized in several countries: Report

November 10th, 2008 - 2:57 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, Nov 10 (DPA) A secret order since 2004 has allowed several covert raids against Al Qaeda targets by US special forces into countries including Syria and Pakistan, The New York Times reported Monday on its website.Previous orders had authorized intelligence agencies, including the Central Investigation Agency (CIA), to act against Al Qaeda and other suspected terrorist groups since the 2001 attacks on New York and Washington.

The 2004 order, signed by the then defence secretary Donald Rumsfeld and authorized by US President George W. Bush, has been used in several attacks including a widely reported strike on a Syrian village last month, according to the Times report, which cited several unnamed defence and intelligence officials.

In another case, US elite troops attacked a site in 2006 in Pakistan’s Bajaur region.

The secret order has allowed cooperation in several attacks between military and CIA forces, which usually do not operate together directly.

In all, the order authorizes military actions in at least 15 countries including Somalia, Yemen and several Gulf states including Saudi Arabia.

The Times sources said that nearly a dozen actions had been taken under the order, though it was not clear which countries were involved beyond Syria and Pakistan.

The newspaper report said several additional attacks were planned but were called off due to concerns over potential diplomatic or operational complications.

Each attack requires the advance authorization of either the defence secretary or the president, depending on the country were the action would take place.

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