Islamic Cleric Dubbed “Next Osama” Killed In Yemen
Anwar al-Awlaki, the man hailed as “the new Osama Bin Laden,” was killed in the mountains of Yemen today in what local officials said they believed was an American airstrike. The officials said pilotless drones had been seen circling the area in recent days.
According to a senior U.S. official, the operation was carried out by Joint Special Operations Command, under the direction of the CIA. “AQAP has lost its ideological leader, which is a huge blow,” a former intelligence official who has tracked al-Awlaki for years told Fox News.
The 40-year-old al-Awlaki had over the years moved from being an influential mouthpiece for al-Qaeda’s ideology of holy war against the United States to become an operational figure, helping recruit militants for al-Qaeda’s branch in Yemen, seen as the most dangerous direct threat to America. Born Anwar Nasser Abdulla Aulaqi in New Mexico, al-Awlaki was of Yemeni descent and with his official blog, Facebook page and many videos on YouTube, he became known as the “bin Laden of the Internet.”
al-Awlaki was on the run in Yemen since 2007. He was seen as a “significant threat” by the West due to his ability to influence aspiring militants into a wide range of attacks, which so far include the 2009 instances of Detroit “underpants bomber” Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab (caught trying to detonate plastic explosives on a plane from Amsterdam) and psychiatrist Major Nidal Malik Hassan (al-Awlaki reportedly gave him religious advice via email before he killed 13 people at an army base at Fort Hood, TX).