Anwar Al Awlaki

September 30, 2011 by staff 

Anwar Al AwlakiAnwar Al Awlaki, Yemen Defense Ministry said Friday that Anwar al-Awlaki, a radical Islamic preacher believed to be a senior member of Al Qaeda’s franchise in the region, has been murdered.

Al-Awlaki, a U.S. citizen born in New Mexico, has been linked to Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) attempt to blow up a U.S. airliner in Detroit on Christmas Day 2009, and is believed to be a leader.

An Obama administration official tells CBS News senior White House correspondent for the U.S. government has “great confidence” Yemen’s report is accurate, and al-Awlaki is dead.

U.S. Officials consider it a most wanted terrorist suspect, adding his name to the list last year to kill or capture – making a rare U.S. addition to what is effectively a U.S. government blacklist.

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A statement from the foreign press office in Yemen, said the suspected al Qaeda “was attacked and killed 8 km (5 miles) from the city of Khashef in Jawf province, 140 kilometers (80 miles) east of the capital, Sanaa. ”

There have been previous reports claiming the death of al-Awlaki, who turned out to be wrong.

Al-Arabiya television quoted local sources say the tribes suspected U.S. drones – Which are known to operate in Yemen – on Friday fired two missiles at a convoy of vehicles believed to be carrying al-Awlaki and his guards.

CBS News reports Khaled Wassef Al-Awlaki who was reported dead after U.S. air strikes in southern Yemen in December 2009 and November 2010. He was also the target of an attack by U.S. drones that killed two members of Al Qaeda in southern Yemen on May 5, 2011.

Wassef reports that Al-Awlaki last appeared in a video posted online in August 2010.

Yemen has increased in recent years to the top of the list of threats to U.S. security officials – with AQAP seen as the most active branch of the global terror network in planning attacks on U.S. soil.

Al-Awlaki is believed to be a prominent member of the group in a major role in planning the actual terrorist plots, in addition to its role as a religious advisor and counselor to other members.

According to reports, met directly with Omar Faruk Abdulmutallab, the Nigerian 19-year-old who tried to blow up the flight to Detroit in 2009, when the young man traveled to the formation of Yemen.

Online preaching voluminous al-Awlaki, in both video and print, is also believed to have inspired Fort Hood shooter Nidal Hasan, who was contacted by email with the preacher before carrying out their attack.

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