published Friday, September 30th, 2011

Officials: al-Awlaki, U.S.-born al-Qaida leader, killed in Yemen

  • photo
    In this Nov. 8, 2010 file image taken from video and released by SITE Intelligence Group on Monday, Anwar al-Awlaki speaks in a video message posted on radical websites. A senior U.S. counterterrorism official says U.S. intelligence indicates that U.S.-born al-Qaida cleric Anwar al-Awlaki has been killed in Yemen. (AP Photo/SITE Intelligence Group, File)
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

KIMBERLY DOZIER, Associated Press

MATT APUZZO, Associated Press

WASHINGTON — American forces targeted al-Qaida cleric Anwar al-Awlaki's convoy with a drone and jet attack and believe he's been killed, a U.S. counterterrorism official said Friday.

The U.S.-born cleric known for fiery anti-American rhetoric has been suspected of ties to the Fort Hood attack and the attempted Christmas Day airliner bombing in 2009.

The counterterrorism official was not authorized to speak publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.

Word from the U.S. comes after the government of Yemen reported that al-Awlaki was targeted and killed Friday about five miles from the town of Khashef, some 87 miles from the capital Sanaa. He would be the most prominent al-Qaida figure to be killed since Osama bin Laden.

U.S. officials have said they believe al-Awlaki directed, led and planned attempted attacks on the U.S. He was believed to have inspired the Fort Hood shooter, Army psychiatrist Maj. Nidal Hasan, and to have played a more direct role in the Christmas 2009 attempted bombing of a Detroit-bound airliner. Hasan is charged with 13 counts of premeditated murder and 32 counts of attempted premeditated murder in the November 2009 attack at Fort Hood, Texas.

Al-Awlaki's death "will especially impact the group's ability to recruit, inspire and raise funds as al-Awlaki's influence and ability to connect to a broad demographic of potential supporters was unprecedented," said terrorist analyst Ben Venzke of the private intelligence monitoring firm, the IntelCenter.

But Venzke said the terror group al-Qaida in the Arab Peninsula will remain the most dangerous regional arm "both in its region and for the direct threat it poses to the U.S. following three recent failed attacks," with AQAP leader Nasir al-Wahayshi still at large.

Venzke said al-Awlaki was due to release a new article in the next issue of AQAP's Inspire magazine justifying attacking civilians in the West.

"The article, which may already have been completed, was announced by AQAP on Tuesday as being entitled, 'Targeting Populations of Countries at War with Muslims,'" he said.

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onetinsoldier said...

Before everyone starts cheering, consider that America has just executed an American Citizen not on a battlefield without due process. No trial, no arrest, no real justice. Today Al Awlaki, tomorrow maybe you.

September 30, 2011 at 10:40 a.m.
Salsa said...

Al-Queda's battlefield is the world and they have declared war on the USA. He was an enemy commander who was orchestrating combat operations. He was a legitimate target just like Japanese General Yammamoto was in WWII when we sent planes to intercept him and shoot him down.

September 30, 2011 at 11:01 a.m.
nucanuck said...

Terrorism is the result of real or imagined injustice. Assasinating a "terrorist" every now and again will have almost no impact on the thinking of those whose actions are motivated by percieved injustice.

The war on terror should begin with a fair foreign policy and a re-examination of the impact of those policies. Doing what we are doing is going backwards.

September 30, 2011 at 11:41 a.m.
meganrael said...

onetinsoldier -- I'm not really sure if you're an actual American soldier, based on your name, but if you can't remember, let me refresh your mind. Soldiers are sworn to protect their contry and it's citizens from foreign and DOMESTIC threats. It's not like he was targeted for no reason.

"U.S. officials have said they believe al-Awlaki directed, led and planned attempted attacks on the U.S. He was believed to have inspired the Fort Hood shooter, Army psychiatrist Maj. Nidal Hasan, and to have played a more direct role in the Christmas 2009 attempted bombing of a Detroit-bound airliner."

And in war, the battlefield is everywhere.

September 30, 2011 at 12:39 p.m.
nucanuck said...

meganrael,

When did suspicion become reasonable grounds for assination of an American citizen or anyone, for that matter. At best he was murdered for what he thought and said, not what he did. Will an Episcopal cleric be next?

First they came for al Awlaki...then they came for you. Suspend our laws and rights in one case and soon there will be no laws and rights.

September 30, 2011 at 12:54 p.m.
meganrael said...

nucanuck -- He wasn't a suspect of a "normal" murder or theft charge. He was a suspect of killing innocent Americans, people he shared citizenship with. A terrorist is a terrorist. I can promise you that are charges brought against him and plans he has that we, as citizens, will never know. Don't rely on soley what a news article says. If he has been a target for a while, then there have been previous reasons for him to be targeted.

September 30, 2011 at 1:14 p.m.
onetinsoldier said...

Al-awlaki isn't important. Doing an end run around the constitution is. He may very well have deserved what he got but we will never really know, now that he was lynched without a trial. John Walker Lind got a trial.

September 30, 2011 at 1:44 p.m.
nucanuck said...

meganrael,

As I read it, al Awlaki was suspected of encouraging others to hurt America, not of any overt act on his own. He apparently held no position of power or command. While he may have had more ability to convince others of America's evils, that does not rise to the level of overt warrior, but simply puts him among the majority of muslims who feel that the US foreign policy is skewed against muslims...which seems to be true.

By that rationale, should we target any and all America-haters who wish us ill and encourage others to act out against us?

Unfortunately we never know when our government tells us the truth until much later.

Assasination should NEVER be national policy,IMO.

September 30, 2011 at 2:07 p.m.

Lets be honest for once. You keep pretending that some mystical piece of paper (the constitution) is going to keep the government from doing what they decide to do. Did this guy deserve to be obliterated? Hell yes he did. Terrorists are cowards they deserve no quarter. Did he he get a fair trial? who cares. He verbally claimed ownership of his actions therefore he was blasted to kingdom come. His end was alot better than the multitude of deaths that come from an ignorant world that clings to the misconception of religions. I'm sure he prayed to Allah that he could go on murdering innocent's looks like Allah didn't get the memo.

September 30, 2011 at 4:25 p.m.

Looks like he's gone to enjoy his 72 virgin ... goats.

October 1, 2011 at 8:23 a.m.
holdout said...

He was not, "executed". A person with the intent and means to cause serious bodily harm to others is a legitimate target for deadly force. It doesn't matter if that person is waving a rifle at a crowded McDonald's parking lot or planning and enabling terrorist attacks. He was not target just because he "encouraged" attacks. If they targeted people based on that there would be so many drones in the air that the sun would be blocked out. And no you will not find out everything the government knew about him because there are human intelligence assets who have to be protected. If one of our sources is found out they suffer more than a negative letter to the editor, they and their family are brutally killed.

October 1, 2011 at 8:58 a.m.
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