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Targeted killing is the premeditated killing of an individual, by a state, organization or institution, outside a battlefield. Targeted killings were employed extensively by death squads in El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Colombia, and Haiti within the context of civil unrest and war during the 1980s and 1990s. Targeted killings have also been used in Somalia, Rwanda, and in the Balkans during the Yugoslav Wars. In the United States, targeted killings have been used by narcotics traffickers. Use of targeted killings by conventional military forces became commonplace in Israel during and after the Second Intifada, when Israeli security forces used the tactic to kill Palestinian opponents. Though initially opposed by the Bush Administration, targeted killings have become a frequent tactic of the United States government in the War on Terror. Instances of targeted killing by the United States that have received significant attention include the killing of Osama bin Laden and of American citizen Anwar al-Aulaqi in 2011. Under the Obama administration use of targeted killings has expanded, most frequently through use of combat drones operating in Afghanistan, Pakistan or Yemen. The legality of targeted killing is disputed. Some Israeli and American academics, military personnel, or officials describe targeted killing as legitimate within the context of self-defense, when employed against terrorists or combatants engaged in asymmetrical warfare. Other academics, some media sources, and some human rights groups have criticized targeted killings as similar to assassinations or extrajudicial killings, illegal within the United States and under international law. (via Freebase)