Obama Says Yemen Turmoil Won’t Hinder Counterterrorism Efforts

President Barack Obama said the U.S. won’t let up counterterrorism operations in Yemen even with the turmoil that enveloped the country.

“We continue to go after high-value targets inside of Yemen” and will continue that pressure, Obama said Sunday at a news conference in New Delhi.

Shiite Houthi rebels seized the presidential palace earlier this month, raising the risk that the country may fracture and concerns that a power vacuum will enable al-Qaeda to further expand its operations in a country that borders Saudi Arabia, the world’s top oil exporter.

The fight against terrorism is “a long, arduous process,” Obama said, and extremists try to exploit areas where the central government is weak.

Thousands of Yemenis took to the streets of the capital Sana’a and other cities Saturday to denounce what they called the coup against U.S.-backed government of President Abdurabuh Mansur Hadi. Protesters in the capital Sana’a urged Hadi to withdraw his resignation.

The U.S. has cut its diplomatic staff in Yemen, though the embassy remains open, White House press secretary Josh Earnest said Saturday.

Obama is in India for meetings with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

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