News / Middle East

American-Born al-Qaida Leader Killed in Yemen

Anwar al Awlaki, a US-born cleric linked to al-Qaida's Yemen-based wing, gives a religious lecture in an unknown location in this still image taken from video released by Intelwire.com on September 30, 2011.
Anwar al Awlaki, a US-born cleric linked to al-Qaida's Yemen-based wing, gives a religious lecture in an unknown location in this still image taken from video released by Intelwire.com on September 30, 2011.

Radical U.S.-born cleric Anwar al-Awlaki has been killed in an airstrike in Yemen that news reports say was orchestrated by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency.

Missiles fired from a drone aircraft killed Awlaki early Friday as he rode in a convoy in eastern Yemen.

President Barack Obama called Awlaki's death a "major blow" to one of al-Qaida's most active affiliates.

Speaking to a military audience outside Washington, Mr. Obama said the operation that killed Awlaki is proof that the terrorist group and its affiliates cannot find a safe haven anywhere in the world.

Quick Facts: Anwar al-Awlaki

    Anwar al-Awlaki was a notorious and outspoken figure within al-Qaida, and a leader of the terrorist network's wing in Yemen.

  • Awlaki, whose group in Yemen is known as al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, was believed to have been the target of a U.S. drone attack in May. He also escaped an air attack that killed 30 people last year.
  • He was born in New Mexico, USA in 1971 (Yemeni parents, fluent in Arabic and English).
  • He served as an imam at several U.S. mosques, including one in the western city of San Diego that was frequented by two men who were involved in the September 11, 2001 attacks against the United States.
  • After Awlaki traveled to Yemen, he became an Internet sensation with a loyal following, including many radicals around the world who listened to recordings of his preachings.
  • He was a vocal critic of America and was suspected of motivating others to commit violence against U.S. interests.
  • Was wanted by authorities in US and Yemen.
  • Yemeni authorities charged Awlaki with "inciting violence against foreigners" for the 2010 killing of a French oil industry worker in Yemen.
  • Believed to have helped Nigerian suspect arrested for attempted 2009 Christmas Day bombing of US airliner.
  • Acted as advisor to U.S. Army psychiatrist accused of carrying out mass shooting at military base that left 13 dead in 2009.

Western news organizations quote U.S. officials as saying the raid was coordinated by the CIA and led by U.S. Joint Special Operations Command, the counterterrorism unit that led the May operation killing Osama bin Laden.

Several other suspected militants were killed in the operation, including Samir Khan, an American of Pakistani origin who produced an English-language magazine for al-Qaida on the Internet.

Awlaki was linked to the group al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, based in Yemen.  He was wanted by both the U.S. and Yemen for his suspected role in terrorist attacks.

Those attacks included the December 2009 attempted bombing of a U.S. airliner that was approaching the U.S. city of Detroit.

Authorities believe Awlaki advised the suspected bomber, Nigerian Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab. Investigators believe Awlaki also played a role in a deadly attack, a month earier, at a U.S. military base.

They say Awlaki may have advised U.S. Major Nidal Malik Hasan, who is accused of killing 13 people in the attack.

Awlaki's death comes with Yemen in a political crisis, marked by heightened calls for President Abdullah Saleh's resignation.

Activists say thousands of anti-government protesters rallied in the capital, Sana'a on Friday and in the southern city of Taiz.

In an interview with The Washington Post and Time magazine this week, Mr. Saleh said a political transition plan crafted by Yemen's Gulf neighbors made it clear that "all elements" contributing to the country's civil unrest should be removed.

The president warned it would be "very dangerous" if his rivals, General Ali Mohsen al-Ahmar, who defected to the opposition, and Hamid al-Ahmar, a telecom tycoon and politician whose brother heads Yemen's most powerful tribal confederation, were to retain their positions after he resigns.

He said that outcome could "lead to civil war." Mr. Saleh has agreed to the plan crafted by the Gulf Cooperation Council three times since April.

However, each time he has backed out before the deal could be signed.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

You May Like

Israelis Quietly Expand Enclave in Palestinian District of Jerusalem

Estimated 500 settlers, armed or protected by paramilitary police, live in Silwan among 50,000 Palestinians More

Video US, Iran Face Similar Challenges in Syrian Fight Against IS

Both Washington, Tehran back fighters battling Islamic State militants in Iraq -- but in Syria they support opposing sides in country’s civil war More

China Boosts Efforts to Help Afghan, Regional Stability

Observers say China’s increased regional involvement are due to concerns that Afghan instability and the presence of anti-China militants in Pakistani border areas could fuel Xinjiang troubles More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rulesi
X
October 21, 2014 12:20 AM
European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.
Video

Video Young Nairobi Tech Innovator on 'Track' in Security Business

A 24-year-old technology innovator in Nairobi has invented a tracking device that monitors and secures cars. He has also come up with what he claims is the most robust audio-visual surveillance system yet. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from the Kenyan capital, his innovations are offering alternative security solutions.
Video

Video Latinas Converting to Islam for Identity, Structure

Latinos are one of the fastest growing groups in the Muslim religion. According to the Pew Research Center, about 6 percent of American Muslims are Latino. And a little more than half of new converts are female. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti travelled to Miami, Florida -- where two out of every three residents is Hispanic -- to learn more.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video North Carolina Emerges as Key Election Battleground

U.S. congressional midterm elections will be held on November 4th and most political analysts give Republicans an excellent chance to win a majority in the U.S. Senate, which Democrats now control. So what are the issues driving voters in this congressional election year? VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone traveled to North Carolina, one of the most politically competitive states in the country, to find out.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

All About America

AppleAndroid