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US discloses more conditions for lethal drone strikes

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(FILES) In a file picture dated 20 March 2003 a US Army Hunter unmanned aerial vehicle flies out of Camp Udairi US military airfield towards Iraq. A US military drone killed two suspected roadside bombers in northern Iraq by dropping a bomb on them, the military said 08 September 2007. "Pilots guided the Hunter operator to the scene where it set up for a strike mission and dropped its precision munition, killing both unknown enemies and marking a first in army aviation history," the military said. AFP PHOTO/ROMEO GACAD (Photo credit should read ROMEO GACAD/AFP/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON — The White House has released a version of President Barack Obama‘s 3-year-old guidance on the use of lethal force against terrorists overseas.

It lays out what it says are safeguards to minimize civilian deaths and errant strikes while preserving the capability to take quick action with drone attacks and other means.

The “presidential policy guidance” stipulates that the U.S., when operating outside areas of active hostilities, will only take direct action when there is “near certainty” that the terrorist target is present and that noncombatants won’t be killed or injured.

The principles, released with redactions, provide more detail on the conditions for drone strikes and other direct action than the White House revealed earlier when it summarized the document in a fact sheet in 2013.