Anwar Awlaki, the cleric who corresponded with Fort Hood jihadist killer, Nidal Hasan, may be dead in Yemen after a U.S. air strike. Also believed dead is the al-Qaeda leader in Yemen, Nassar al-Wahayshi and his deputy Saeed al-Shehri. See update below.
Anwar Awlaki is a U.S.-born Yemeni scholar from Las Cruces, New Mexico. He moved from California to the Dar al-Hijrah mosque in Great Falls, Virginia in 2001. Two of the 9-11 hijackers are known to have worshipped there. A third hijacker attended his services in California. Nidal Hasan attended the mosque and his mother’s funeral was held at Dar al-Hijrah. Thirty are believed to dead in the U.S. airstrike in eastern Yemen, with Awlaki thought to be among them.
“The raid was carried out as dozens of members of
Al Qaeda were meeting in Wadi Rafadh,” a source told AFP, referring to
a rugged location about 400 miles east of the capital.
A Yemeni official, also speaking on condition of
anonymity to AFP, said those attending the meeting “planned to launch
terrorist attacks against economic installations in Yemen, in
retaliation for Yemeni strikes launched last week.”
The Sunni Muslim Ummah forum is chatting that a Yemen news source says the Awlaki killed was not the cleric Awlaki, but perhaps someone in his “famous” Awlaki tribe.
Al-Qaeda in Yemen recently changed its name to al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, in an attempt to revive al-Qaeda in Saudia Arabia, where they have been thwarted by a three-years armed counter-terrorism campaign.
Nasser al-Wahayshi was named the new group’s Yemeni leader, and made news when he called for the overthrow of the Saudi royal family. Find an interesting interview with al-Wayhayshi here.
I’m assuming the death of his close confident, Anwar Awlaki, will grieve the very pious Nidal Hasan. Let’s hope this guy is dead.
There is still no official denial or confirmation that Awlaki is dead. The HuffingtonPost is reporting “friends and relatives” saying that he is alive. While some al-Qaeda are saying that they were present during the airstrike and Awlaki is not dead, they will not answer the question: was Awlaki present at the meeting.