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

How to Safeguard Your Mobile Privacy

As the digital world becomes more mobile, so too do concerns about eroding privacy and increased hacking More

'Desert Dancer' Chronicles Iranian Underground Dance Troupe

Film by Richard Raymond is based on true story of Afshin Ghaffarian and his friends More

Researcher: Obesity Poses Complex Problem

Professor at Symposium on Obesity, Diabetes and Metabolic Syndrome says problem involves more than calorie intake, warns of worldwide health impact 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.
Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thoughti
X
George Putic
May 26, 2015 9:26 PM
Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video US-led Coalition Gives Some Weapons to Iraqi Troops

In a video released Tuesday from the Iraqi Ministry of Defense, Iraqi forces and U.S.-led coalition troops survey a cache of weapons supplied to help Iraq liberate Mosul from Islamic State group. According to a statement provided with the video, the ministry and the U.S.-led coaltion troops have started ''supplying the 16th army division with medium and light weapons in preparation to liberate Mosul and nearby areas from Da'esh (Arabic acronym for Islamic State group).''
Video

Video Amnesty International: 'Overwhelming Evidence' of War Crimes in Ukraine

Human rights group Amnesty International says there is overwhelming evidence of ongoing war crimes in Ukraine, despite a tentative cease-fire with pro-Russian rebels. Researchers interviewed more than 30 prisoners from both sides of the conflict and all but one said they were tortured. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Washington Parade Honors Those Killed Serving in US Military

Every year, on the last Monday in the month of May, millions of Americans honor the memories of those killed while serving in the armed forces. Memorial Day is a tradition that dates back to the 19th Century. While many people celebrate the federal holiday with a barbecue and a day off from work, for those who’ve served in the military, it’s a special day to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Arash Arabasadi reports for VOA from Washington.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.
Video

Video On Film: How Dance Defies Iran's Political Oppression

'Desert Dancer' by filmmaker Richard Raymond is based on the true story of a group of young Iranians, who form an underground dance troupe in the Islamic Republic of Iran. This is the latest in a genre of films that focus on dance as a form of freedom of expression against political oppression and social injustice. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Turkey's Ruling Party Trying to Lure Voters in Opposition Stronghold

Turkey’s AK (Justice and Development) Party is seeking a fourth successive general election victory, with the goal of securing two-thirds of the seats in Parliament to rewrite the constitution and change the country's parliamentary system into a presidential one. To achieve that, the party will need to win seats in opposition strongholds like the western city of Izmir. Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.

VOA Blogs