Anwar-al Awlaki, an Al Qaeda affiliate considered a major threat to security in the United States, has been killed in Yemen, U.S officials have announced.
The American-born cleric was struck by a U.S drone attack in Yemen on Friday morning as he was boarding a 2005 Toyota Hilux with five other supporters, according to counterterrorism officials.
Al-Awlaki was involved in attempting to bomb a U.S bound aircraft on Dec.25 2009, with a direct role in supervising and directing the attempt to bring the Detroit bound cargo aircraft down using packaged explosives, The Associated Press reported.
US President, Barack Obama, authorized a request to target al-Awlaki in April last year, making him the first US citizen to be a lead legal target of assassination post 9/11, the Guardian reported.
Al-Awlaki, 40, is best known for his Islamist sermons broadcast over the internet in flawless English and his public praise for the 2009 Fort Hood, Texas shooting spree.
He was probably the most articulate English-language jihadist recruiter out there, said Ghaffar Hussain, an analyst at the London-based think tank Quilliam Foundation, The Wall Street Journal reported. If Mr. Awlaki is dead, it could have a significant dampening impact on domestic radicalization in British and American societies, he said.
Initially al-Awlaki was considered a moderate. Regarding the 9/11 attacks, al-Awlaki told the Washington Post in Oct.2001 that Muslims still see Osama Bin Laden as a person with extremely radical ideas. But he has been able to take advantage of the sentiment that is out regarding US foreign policy.
We're totally against what the terrorists had done. We want to bring those who had done this to justice. But we're also against the killing of civilians in Afghanistan, he said
But over time his language became tougher and he went from condemning terrorism to promoting it. He increasingly used technology for his extremist propaganda, demonstrating the role that internet platforms are playing in spreading extremist ideas.
Here are some of the top tweets following his death:
- TonyyMontanna JD....Agghhhhh! If you tweet, FB post, or YouTube anythin about Anwar al-Awlaki - the FEDS might come after you...
- Revolutionary29 Allahs Warrior Masha'Allah that was a great book, it was so sophisticated I read front to back and I didnt understand a word. -Imam Anwar al-Awlaki#Lol
- Mannyalhadj Mansour Bin Maryam Exclusive: Inspire Magazine announced that a new speech of AnwarAl-Awlaki is soon to come.
- barboss5 Nicolas Brown Was Anwar Al-Awlaki Still A U.S. Citizen?: I got into this question a bit with an explainer earlier this month ab... adf.ly/2yKii
- davemclain davemclain Now we're a country that kills it's citizens without due process, as long as they're in a terrorist organization.nytimes.com/2011/10/01/wor...
- nnelken Nadine Nelken With Death of Anwar al-Awlaki, Has U.S.Launched New Era of Killing U.S.Citizens Without Charge?
- o2bsailn Ashley M RT @JohnFugelsang Hey, Anwar al-Awlaki is trending? Cool - he owes me 20 bucks. How can I get in touch with the guy?
- Johnby8811 John Baden Ding Dong! - Another terrorist is dead! - foxnews.com/politics/2011/
- RevRichFinlay DJ NuckaNutz ANWAR AL-AWLAKI You Are The Sunshine Of My Life... oh no that was the bomb going off on your ass !
- BizIndustries Alex Mudd What a magical day. I bought GLD at 36 cents cheaper than the limit price I set AND Anwar Al-Awlaki is dead! I... fb.me/O2icgF7O