Posted on | September 30, 2011 | 72 Comments
The U.S.-born terror mastermind Anwar al-Awlaki has been killed, Fox News confirms.
Awlaki was killed with several other suspected al Qaeda operatives, the Yemeni defense ministry said. The statement did not elaborate on the circumstances of Awlaki’s death.
However, tribal sources told AFP that Awlaki was killed in an air strike which hit two vehicles in Marib province, an al Qaeda stronghold in eastern Yemen early Friday.
UPDATE: Notice the legalistic mumbo-jumbo (“terror suspect,” “believed,” “reportedly”) in the CBS News story, as if they are afraid Al-Awlaki might sue for libel:
Yemen: Terror suspect Anwar al-Awlaki killed
Yemen’s Defense Ministry claimed Friday that Anwar al-Awlaki, a radical Islamic preacher believed to be a high-ranking member of al Qaeda’s franchise in the region, has been killed.
Al-Awlaki, a U.S. citizen born in New Mexico, has been linked to al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula’s (AQAP) attempted bombing of a U.S. passenger jet over Detroit on Christmas day, 2009, and is thought to be a leader of the group.
U.S. officials consider him a most-wanted terror suspect, and added his name last year to the kill or capture list – making him a rare American addition to what is effectively a U.S. government hit-list. . . .
Al-Awlaki is believed to be a prominent member in the group, taking a role in the planning of actual terror plots, in addition to his role as a religious adviser and counselor to other members.
He reportedly met directly with Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the 19-year-old Nigerian who attempted to blow up the flight to Detroit in 2009, when the young man traveled for training to Yemen.
Al-Awlaki’s voluminous online preaching, in both video and print form, is also thought to have inspired Ft. Hood shooter Nidal Hasan, who made email contact with the preacher before carrying out his attack
Look, I understand that a news organization isn’t supposed to be uncritically publishing government press releases, but there is such a thing as being “notorious,” and Al-Awlaki’s role in al-Qaeda was notorious.
UPDATE II: In July, K-Lo at NRO interviewed Fox News national security correspondent Catherine Herridge, who had this to say:
Anwar al-Awlaki is the leader of al-Qaeda 2.0. The New Mexico–born cleric is a digital jihadist who uses our technology against us to spread his message of hate. He is the Facebook friend from hell.
Most Americans don’t realize that al-Awlaki, the first American on the CIA’s kill-or-capture list, was held in federal custody in October 2002 until an FBI agent ordered his release even though there was an active warrant for his arrest.
Awlaki developed an online e-mail relationship with the accused shooter at Fort Hood, Maj. Nidal Hasan, and many others. Think how history would be different for the Fort Hood families if Awlaki had been prosecuted in 2002?
Despite calls from Capitol Hill, the FBI has refused to explain how the cleric slipped through the bureau’s grasp. I believe it could be the biggest law-enforcement failure since 9/11.
UPDATE III: “Religion of peace“:
When he was imam of a San Diego mosque in the 1990s, his sermons were attended by two future 9/11 hijackers, Khalid al-Midhar and Nawaf al-Hazmi.
He also lived in the UK from 2002-04, where he spent several months giving lectures to Muslim youth.
In a video posted in November last year he called for the killing of Americans, saying they were from the “party of devils”.
And this guy was born in New Mexico, a U.S. citizen.
UPDATE IV: A brief Associated Press video report:
UPDATE V: No fewer than four reporters — in Yemen, London and Washington — contributed to this story in The New York Times:
SANA, Yemen — In a significant and dramatic strike in the campaign against Al Qaeda, the Defense Ministry here said American-born preacher Anwar al-Awlaki, a leading figure in the group’s outpost in Yemen, was killed on Friday morning. In Washington a senior official said Mr. Awlaki had been killed in an American attack by an unpiloted drone firing a Hellfire missile.
Mr. Awlaki’s Internet lectures and sermons have been linked to more than a dozen terrorist investigations in the United States, Britain and Canada. Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan had exchanged e-mails with Mr. Awlaki before the deadly shooting rampage on Fort Hood, Texas, in 2009. Faisal Shahzad, who tried to set off a car bomb in Times Square in May, 2010, cited Mr. Awlaki as an inspiration.
Notice that Awlaki is described as a “preacher,” not an “imam” or “cleric.” As of 8 a.m., the online version of this NYT story is 1,265 words and it is not until the 24th paragraph that we discover what religion Awlaki preached:
Mr. Awlaki has been linked to numerous plots against the United States, including the botched underwear bombing. He has taken to the Internet with stirring battle cries directed at young American Muslims. “Many of your scholars,” Mr. Awlaki warned last year, are “standing between you and your duty of jihad.”
As an amusing side-note, the Internet now enables the Times to get stories wrong in real-time:
This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:
Correction: September 30, 2011
An earlier version of this article said that Yemeni forces had carried out the attack. The circumstances of the operation remain unclear.
All the (wrong) news that’s fit to print!
UPDATE VI: “They Told Glenn Reynolds …”