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Drone Kills Anwar al-Awlaki in Yemen

8:51 AM, Sep 30, 2011 • By DANIEL HALPER
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The New York Times reports:

A missile fired from an American drone aircraft in Yemen on Friday killed Anwar al-Awlaki, the radical American-born cleric who was a leading figure in al Qaeda’s affiliate there, according to an official in Washington. 

Many of the details of the strike were unclear, but the official said that the drone fired a Hellfire missile and killed Mr. Awlaki, whom the United States has been hunting in Yemen for more than two years.  

Yemen’s Defense Ministry confirmed Mr. Awlaki’s death, and both Yemeni and American officials hailed the strike as a significant success in the campaign to weaken Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, a group American officials believe to be the most dangerous Al Qaeda affiliate.

CBS notes: "Al-Awlaki, 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 was thought to be a leader of the group."

Peter King, chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security, released the following statement this morning: “The killing of Anwar al-Awlaki is a great success in our fight against al-Qaeda and its affiliates. For the past several years, al-Awlaki has been more dangerous even than Osama bin Laden had been. The killing of al-Awlaki is a tremendous tribute to President Obama and the men and women of our intelligence community. “Despite this vital development today, we must remain as vigilant as ever, knowing that there are more Islamic terrorists who will gladly step forward to backfill this dangerous killer.”

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