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Vol. 75/No. 37      October 17, 2011

White House openly targets,
kills US citizen in Yemen
(lead article)
A U.S. drone strike in Yemen September 30 killed Anwar al-Awlaki, a U.S. citizen whom President Barack Obama last year declared was a government target for assassination.

The White House defends its decision to kill al-Awlaki, an Islamist cleric, based on allegations that he was a central leader of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula with links to terrorist actions.

The FBI says al-Awlaki had contact with Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, who is scheduled to be tried by a military court for the 2009 shooting in Fort Hood, Texas, that killed 13 people. At the time, the FBI concluded that there was “no information to indicate Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan had any co-conspirators.”

U.S. officials also allege that al-Awlaki had contact with Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, who was charged with an attempted suicide bombing of an airliner over Detroit on Christmas Day 2009.

But Washington hasn’t charged or produced evidence against al-Awlaki.

Also killed in the same drone attack was Samir Khan, a Saudi-born U.S. citizen who was coeditor of the English-language al-Qaeda magazine Inspire. Tribal leaders in the area said five other people were also killed.

Last year Awlaki’s father and the American Civil Liberties Union filed a suit seeking an injunction against the planned assassination. The court rejected the case, saying Awlaki’s father, a Yemeni citizen living in the United States, didn’t have standing in the U.S. court. The judge added that “the propriety of his extrajudicial killing wasn’t a question for the courts,” reported the Wall Street Journal, and that “Awlaki always had the option of returning home to prove his innocence.”
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