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WASHINGTON, District of Columbia (AFP) – Al-Qaeda’s leaders have set up cells of engineers to try to shoot down, disable or hijack U.S. drones, The Washington Post reported late Tuesday citing top-secret U.S. intelligence documents.

The Al-Qaeda leadership is “hoping to exploit the technological vulnerabilities of a weapons system that has inflicted huge losses against the terrorist network,” the Post said online.

“Although there is no evidence that Al-Qaeda has forced a drone crash or successfully interfered with flight operations, U.S. intelligence officials have closely tracked the group’s persistent efforts to develop a counterdrone strategy since 2010,” the report said, citing the secret documents.

The Al-Qaeda commanders are keen to achieve “a technological breakthrough [that] could curb the U.S. drone campaign, which has killed an estimated 3,000 people over the past decade,” the Post reported.

Drone strikes have forced al-Qaeda operatives to limit their movements in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Yemen, Somalia and other places.

They have also taken a toll among civilians in those countries, something that has fueled anti-U.S. sentiment.

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