Anwar al-Awlaki Killed In Yemen
Anwar al-Awlaki, the US-born Muslim cleric who took over Al Queda after Osama bin Laden was killed last Spring and some say was a CIA asset, has been killed in an airstrike in Yemen.
“The terrorist Anwar al-Awlaki has been killed along with some of his companions,” the Yemeni Defense Ministry said in a statement that gave no other details. A Yemeni security official told the Financial Times that the “companions” were other high-ranking Al Queda
The Voice of America reports that US aircraft were used in the mission, noting that the US has previously conducted unmanned drone attacks against al-Qaida targets in Yemen.
A western government official told the Financial Times that, if confirmed, the death of al-Awlaki would be a “huge deal.”
“After [Osama] Bin Laden’s death earlier this year, Awlaki has come to be seen to be by a long chalk the most serious person in the AQ network,” the official said.
Al-Awlaki has been “credited” with being the mastermind of several large-scale terror plots, including the botched plot by a Nigerian man to detonate explosives in his underwear in Christmas 2009, and inspiring U.S. Army psychiatrist Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan to allegedly kill 13 people at Ft. Hood, Texas, also in 2009.
Al-Awlaki was interviewed at least four times by the FBI because of his association with three of the terrorists onboard Flight 77, the plane that slammed into the Pentagon on 9/11/2001.
Some have claimed that al-Awlaki was recruited by the CIA after a presentation he gave on Muslim issues was noticed by a Defense Department agent. It was shortly after that when al-Awlaki began making a name for himself as a racial Islamic preacher, whose sermons could be heard over the Internet.
Al-Awlaki was a former Muslim chaplain at George Washington University, where he was also pursuing a Doctorate in Education. The university is known as having close ties to the intelligence community, including recruitment and training. GWU also has CIA agents teaching on campus as part of the “Officers in Residence” program there.