Yemen: Key Al Qaeda Cleric Al-Awlaki Killed

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The Yemeni government announced Friday that U.S.-born al Qaeda cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, one of the world's leading terrorists, has been killed in an air strike in eastern Yemen.

Al-Awlaki's death comes as welcome news in the war on terror. The U.S. had been seeking to kill or capture the 38-year-old al Qaeda terrorist for almost two years. 

"Awlaki is a terrorist who has declared war on the United States," then CIA Director Leon Panetta said in June 2010.
   
"We certainly want to neutralize him, and we will do whatever we can in order to do that," Attorney General Eric Holder told ABC News in an interview last year.

Al-Awlaki is the most prominent al Qaeda figure to be killed since Osama bin Laden's death in a May U.S. Navy SEAL raid in Pakistan.

CBN News Terrorism Analyst Erick Stakelbeck has more Al-Awlaki's death and how it impacts the war on terror.  Click play to watch.

Also, check out Stakelbeck on Terror for more insight on what Al-Awlaki's death means for al Qaeda.
              
Al-Awlaki was born in the United States in New Mexico in 1971. He attended college in Colorado before leading mosques in San Diego and Virginia.
    
A 2001 Washington Post video profile showed a calm al-Awlaki saying "Islam is a religion of peace." One year later, al-Awlaki moved to his indigenousness country of Yemen.
    
American authorities say he began to use his Internet lectures to recruit terrorists to wage jihad against the United States.

"Never underestimate the power of fear, especially when the enemy of Allah hears Allahu Ahkbar," al-Awlaki said in one video.

U.S. authorities say the accused gunman at Fort Hood, Maj. Nidal Hassan, killed 13 soldiers after al-Awlaki provided religious justification for jihad in a series of emails.
    
They also say al-Awlaki advised the so-called underwear bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab in his failed attempt to bring down an American jetliner over Detroit on Christmas Day in 2009.
    
Many more were also drawn to al Qaeda training camps in Yemen by al-Awlaki.
  
The 38-year-old built up a substantial following in the U.S. and other Western countries through the Internet. 

Since he was American-born and educated, investigators say he had special insight into the U.S. and its vulnerabilities.

--Published Sept. 30, 2011.

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Mark Martin

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Mark Martin is a reporter and anchor at CBN News, covering various issues from military matters to alternative fuels. Mark has reported internationally in the Middle East and traveled to Bahrain to cover stories on the U.S.S. Dwight D. Eisenhower. Follow Mark on Twitter @MarkMartinCBN and "like" him at Facebook.com/MarkMartinCBN.