Friday, 30 September 2011

BBC News: Islamist cleric Anwar al-Awlaki killed in Yemen

BBC News publishes a report regarding the 'targeted killing' (yesterday?) of prominent al-Qaeda leader Anwar al-Awlaki in Yemen by an American drone:
US-born radical Islamist cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, a key al-Qaeda leader, has been killed in Yemen, the country's defence ministry said.

US President Barack Obama said his death was a major blow to al-Qaeda.

Awlaki, of Yemeni descent, has been on the run in Yemen since December 2007.

The US said that as a key figure in al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), he had played a "significant role" in plots to blow up US airliners and had sought use poison to kill US citizens.

Mr Obama is said to have personally ordered his killing last year.

Yemen's defence ministry statement said only that Awlaki had died in Khashef in Jawf province, about 140km (87 miles) east of the capital, Sanaa, "along with some of his companions".

US and Yemeni officials later named one of those as Samir Khan, also a US citizen but of Pakistani origin, who produced an online magazine promoting al-Qaeda's ideology.

Local tribal leaders told the AFP news agency that Awlaki had been moving around within Yemen in recent weeks to evade capture. Local people told AP he had been travelling between Jawf and Marib provinces when he died.

US officials said Awlaki's convoy was hit by a US drone and jet strike.

Mr Obama said that as the leader of external operations for AQAP, Awlaki, born in 1971, had taken "a lead in planning and directing efforts to murder innocent Americans" and was also "directly responsible for the death of many Yemeni citizens".

He said the death marked another "milestone in the broader efforts to defeat al-Qaeda and its affiliates", and paid tribute to US intelligence and the Yemeni security forces for their co-operation.

"This is further proof that al-Qaeda and its affiliates will find no safe haven anywhere in the world, " he said.

British Foreign Secretary William Hague said Awlaki had "demonstrated his intent and ability to cause mass terror".

One US official told the American network ABC that US intelligence had had "a very intense focus" on Awlaki for some time, waiting for a chance to strike.

The unnamed official said there had been "a good opportunity to hit him" on the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks this year, but that "it never materialised".
That's an extract: there's more, so take a look!

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