Obama says regional Al-Qaeda networks still pose threat

Source: Pano feed

President Barack Obama said on Friday that Al-Qaeda’s regional units still posed a threat but that the network was weaker overall, after the United States shut embassies due to security concerns.


File photo of US President Barack Obama in Washington DC. (AFP/Brendan Smialowski)

File photo of US President Barack Obama in Washington DC. (AFP/Brendan Smialowski)



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WASHINGTON, District of Columbia: President Barack Obama said on Friday that Al-Qaeda’s regional units still posed a threat but that the network was weaker overall, after the United States shut embassies due to security concerns.


Obama, addressing a news conference, said that the United States wanted to strengthen individual countries’ capacity to target Al-Qaeda militants.


“This tightly organised and relatively centralized Al-Qaeda that attacked us on 9/11 has been broken apart. And it is very weak and does not have a lot of operational capacity,” Obama said.


But Obama pointed to dangers of Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, a unit of the extremist group that effectively controls parts of Yemen.


“We still have these regional organizations like AQAP that can pose a threat,” Obama said.


Regional militants can “drive, potentially, a truck bomb into an embassy wall and can kill some people.”


“That requires us, then, to make sure that we have a strategy that is strengthening those partners so that they’ve got their own capacity to deal with what are potentially manageable, regional threats if these countries are a little bit stronger,” he said.


The United States last week closed more than 20 embassies or consulates in the Islamic world in response to what officials described as a specific threat by Al-Qaeda.


US authorities have since reopened several embassies but closed others, including in sub-Saharan Africa, and pulled staff from the Pakistani city of Lahore.


The founder of Al-Qaeda, Saudi-born Osama bin Laden, was killed in May 2011 in a secret US raid on his home in Pakistan.


Theo AFP




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