Radical cleric Awlaqi killed in Yemen


US-born cleric Anwar al-Awlaqi, a prominent al Qaeda chief described by US officials as “the most significant risk” to the United States, was killed on Friday in what analysts called a “significant blow”.
A senior US official confirmed Awlaqi’s death after an announcement by the Yemeni Defence Ministry. “I can confirm… he’s dead,” the senior administration official said, without providing further details. In Sanaa, the Defence Ministry said Awlaqi was killed on Friday morning but did not elaborate on the circumstances of his death. Tribal sources told AFP that Awlaqi, who was on a US wanted list, was killed in an air strike on two vehicles in Marib province, an al Qaeda stronghold in eastern Yemen, early in the day.
The strike also killed Samir Khan, an American of Pakistani origin, and two others who were in the same vehicle as al-Awlaki, a US official told CNN. Khan specialised in computer programming for al Qaeda and authored the terror network’s online magazine, Inspire. President Barack Obama called al-Awlaki’s death a “major blow” to al Qaeda, reeling still from the killing and capture this year of several top leaders, most notably Osama bin Laden. “His hateful ideology and targeting of innocent civilians has been rejected by the vast majority of Muslims and people of all faiths and he has met his demise because the government and the people of Yemen have joined the international community in a common effort against al Qaeda,” Obama said.
“The death of Awlaki is a major blow to al Qaeda’s most active operational affiliate.” US Republican Representative Peter King, chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security, called Awlaqi’s killing “a great success in our fight against al Qaeda and its affiliates”. “For the past several years, Al-Awlaqi has been more dangerous even than Osama bin Laden had been,” he said.