US authorises targeted killing of cleric
PRESS TRUST OF INDIA
New York, Apr 7: In an extraordinary step, the Obama Administration has authorised the targeted killing of an American citizen, the radical Muslim cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, believed to be hiding in Yemen.
The rare authorisation was given earlier this year after American intelligence inputs that Awlaki had shifted from encouraging attacks on the US to directly participating in them, ‘New York Times’ reported quoting top US counter-terrorism officials.
“We take direct actions against terrorists in the intelligence community,” Dennis C Blair, director of national intelligence, said.
“If we think that direct action will involve killing an American, we get specific permission to do that.”
Previously, the US newspaper reported that Awlaki exchanged public letters on the web with a Somali Islamist group- Al-Shabaab that has attracted recruits among young Somali-Americans living in Minnesota.
The cleric was born in New Mexico and spent years as an imam in the US before shifting to Yemen where American intelligence believe he is leading a Al-Qaeda offshoot. Awlaki came under heavy US officials scrutiny after being linked to rouge US army psychiatrists major Nidal Hassan, who killed 13 people in a shooting rampage at Army’s Forthood base in Texas. A Muslim soldier who follows orders to kill Muslims, the cleric wrote, “is a heartless beast, bent of evil, who sells his religion for a few dollars.”
After the attack, Anwar called Hasan a hero. The cleric has also been linked to Umar Farouk Adbulmutallab, a Nigerian who made an abortive bid to bring down a US Airliner at Detroit on Christmas Day.
‘Times’ quoted American counter-terrorism officials as saying that Awlaki was now a top operative of Al-Qaeda in Arabian Peninsula who had become a recruiter for the terrorist network, feeding prospects into plots aimed at the US and at the Americans abroad.
Lastupdate on : Wed, 7 Apr 2010 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Wed, 7 Apr 2010 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Thu, 8 Apr 2010 00:00:00 IST
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