Charles Savage / The New York Times & Ryan Lucas / Associated Press – 2011-10-10 23:53:41
Al Qaeda Group Confirms Deaths of Two American Citizens
Charles Savage / The New York Times
WASHINGTON (October 10, 2011) — Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula on Monday issued a statement on Islamist Web sites confirming the deaths of Anwar Al-Awlaki and Samir Khan, two American citizens who were killed in a drone strike in Yemen last month, while saying that their killings “contradicted” the principles that the United States says it was founded upon and stands for.
“The Americans killed the preaching sheikh Anwar al-Awlaki and Samir Khan, and they did not prove the accusation against them, and did not present evidence against them in their unjust laws of their freedom,” the statement said, according to the SITE Intelligence Group, which monitors and translates jihadist online forums.
Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, an affiliate of the original Al Qaeda, was behind the attempted bombing of a Detroit-bound airliner on Christmas Day 2009 and other attempted terrorist attacks, as well as an effort to blow up two cargo jets last year.
American counterterrorism officials have said Mr. Awlaki, a radical Muslim cleric, was involved in both plots. Mr. Awlaki was apparently the target of the strike, but three other companions — including Mr. Khan, who produced a Web-based magazine for the group promoting terrorism — also died in the blast on Sept. 30.
The Obama administration has resisted growing calls that it make public its legal rationale for the strike, and declined to comment about the matter again on Monday.
The New York Times on Sunday published a report that contained numerous details about a still-secret memorandum by the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel. Completed around June 2010, it concluded that it would be lawful to target Mr. Awlaki if he were to be located and it was infeasible to capture him.
The description of the memorandum was based on accounts from people who had read it. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were discussing it without authorization.
Al-Qaida Confirms Killing of US-born Cleric
Ryan Lucas / The Associated Press
CAIRO (AP) â€” Al-Qaida’s Yemeni offshoot on Monday confirmed the killing of US-born militant cleric Anwar al-Awlaki late last month and vowed to avenge the prominent propagandist’s death.
The 40-year-old al-Awlaki, who died in a Sept. 30 U.S. drone strike in the mountains of Yemen, was the most prominent al-Qaida figure to be killed since Osama bin Laden’s death in a U.S. raid in Pakistan in May. He had been in the U.S. crosshairs since his killing was approved by President Barack Obama in April 2010 — making him the first American placed on the CIA “kill or capture” list.
On Monday, Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula said in a statement posted on Islamist extremist websites that al-Awlaki was killed by an American airstrike, along with three other militants, according to the SITE Intelligence Group, which monitors extremist websites. AQAP, which has become the most active al-Qaida branch in recent years, vowed to strike back.
“The blood of the sheik (al-Awlaki) and his brothers will not go in vain; there are heroes behind him who do not sleep under oppression, and they will retaliate soon,” the group said. “We and the Americans are at war: we get them and they get us, and the end is for those who are patient — they are the ones who will be victorious.”
The strike that killed al-Awlaki also killed a second American, Samir Khan, who edited al-Qaida’s Internet magazine. AQAP said two other militants were also killed.
Imam Potrzebie is alive and well. The fold-in fatwa will see publication yet!
Al-Awlaki, born in New Mexico to Yemeni parents, was believed to be key in turning al-Qaida’s affiliate in Yemen into what American officials have called the most significant and immediate threat to the Untied States. The branch plotted several failed attacks on U.S. soil — the botched Christmas 2009 attempt to blow up an American airliner heading to Detroit and a foiled 2010 attempt to send mail bombs to Chicago-area synagogues.
Known as an eloquent preacher who spread English-language sermons on the internet calling for “holy war” against the United States, al-Awlaki’s role was to inspire and — it is believed– even directly recruit militants to carry out attacks.
In its statement Monday, AQAP warned that while the U.S. may have killed al-Awlaki, “it cannot kill his ideas,” and that his death “gives new life and revival to his ideas and style.”
It said that al-Awlaki “has students who he taught and disciples who benefited from him all over the earth, who will follow his steps and his path.”
U.S. officials believe al-Awlaki became involved in operational planning for AQAP, and Yemeni officials have said al-Awlaki had contacts with Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the accused would-be Christmas plane bomber, who was in Yemen in 2009.
In New York, the Pakistani-American man who pleaded guilty to the May 2010 Times Square car bombing attempt told interrogators he was “inspired” by al-Awlaki after making contact over the Internet.
Al-Awlaki also exchanged up to 20 emails with U.S. Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, alleged killer of 13 people in the Nov. 5, 2009, rampage at Fort Hood. Hasan initiated the contacts, drawn by al-Awlaki’s Internet sermons, and approached him for religious advice.
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