Some of America’s most highly trained soldiers have worked on mercenary missions to kill prominent clerics and Islamist political figures in the Middle East, according to a BuzzFeed News report. Some of the hitmen sent out on assassination missions are said to have included a former U.S. Green Beret, former Navy SEALs, a former worker for the CIA’s “ground branch,” and a special forces sergeant in the Maryland Army National Guard. They were reportedly working for a private U.S. company—Spear Operations Group—and were hired by the United Arab Emirates to carry out politically motivated murders in the civil war in Yemen. “There was a targeted assassination program in Yemen,” said company founder Abraham Golan, who lives near Pittsburgh. “I was running it. We did it. It was sanctioned by the UAE within the coalition.” Golan said his team was responsible for a number of war in Yemen’s high-profile assassinations, but didn’t specify which ones. As BuzzFeed News notes, it’s a legal gray area for U.S. citizens: The State Department is tasked with regulating overseas military services and U.S. law makes it illegal to “conspire to kill, kidnap, or maim” someone in another country, but working as a mercenary isn’t banned.
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