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Amnesty urges US probe deadly Yemen strike after cable leaks

by Staff Writers
Dubai (AFP) Dec 1, 2010
Amnesty International called on Wednesday for Washington to probe a missile strike in Yemen that killed dozens of people after a leaked diplomatic cable showed it was the work of the US military.

The US cable published by WikiLeaks "has corroborated images released earlier this year by Amnesty international showing the US military carried out a missile strike in south Yemen in December 2009 that killed dozens of local residents," the London-based rights group said.

In the document, Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh admitted lying to his own people by pretending that US military strikes against Al-Qaeda were carried out by Yemen's own military.

"We'll continue saying the bombs are ours, not yours," he said in January talks with General David Petraeus, then commander of US forces in the Middle East, according to the cable published by whistleblower WikiLeaks.

The cable was sent by the US ambassador to Yemen, Stephen Seche, according to the WikiLeaks website.

Yemen denied the claim, saying the documents were "incorrect."

But Amnesty said: "The cable appears to confirm Amnesty International's finding that the (southern province of) Abyan strike was carried out by the US military, not Yemeni government forces.

"There must be an immediate investigation into the dozens of deaths of local residents in the Abyan air strike, including into the extent of US involvement."

Amnesty said that "those responsible for unlawful killings must be brought to justice."

In Sanaa, a Yemeni foreign ministry official on Wednesday dismissed the leaked documents as "inaccurate and incorrect," according to the official Saba news agency.

"What was contained in these documents is not considered an accurate and correct reflection of what took place in these meetings," Saba quoted the official as saying.

"Yemen builds its relations with all countries based on mutual respect, mutual interests and on (them) not interfering in its internal affairs."

In June, Amnesty released images it said were of fragments of a US Tomahawk cruise missile, reportedly taken at the scene of the December 17 strike, in which it said 55 people, mostly civilians, were killed.

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Yemeni president lies about US strikes: WikiLeaks
Washington (AFP) Nov 28, 2010
Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh admits lying to his own people by pretending that US military strikes against Al-Qaeda are carried out by Yemeni forces, according to a leaked US document. "We'll continue saying the bombs are ours, not yours," Saleh said in January talks with General David Petraeus, then commander of US forces in the Middle East, according to a US diplomatic cable publish ... read more

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