Washington: The death Anwar al-Awlaki,
leader of al Qaeda in Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), is not only a
major blow to the terrorist outfit, but also marks another
significant milestone in the effort to defeat the organisation
and its affiliates, US President Barack Obama said on Friday.
"The death of Awlaki is a major blow to al Qaeda`s
most active operational affiliate. Awlaki was the leader of
external operations for al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.
In that role, he took the lead in planning and directing
efforts to murder innocent Americans," Obama said in his
remarks at an event held for the farewell of Admiral Mike
Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Al Qaeda`s top spiritual leader Awlaki, a Yemeni-origin
American engineer, was today killed in a US drone attack in
Yemen, dealing another body-blow to the terror network after
the death of Osama bin Laden in Pakistan.
40-year-old Awlaki, described by American officials as
the "chief of external operations" of AQAP and the spiritual
head of the terror outfit, was killed in a "successful joint
intelligence-sharing operation" between Yemen and the US. The
militant cleric, known as the public face of AQAP, was
believed to be hiding in Yemen.
"The death of Awlaki marks another significant milestone
in the broader effort to defeat al Qaeda and its affiliates.
Furthermore, the success is a tribute to our intelligence
community and to the efforts of Yemen and its security forces,
who have worked closely with the United States over the course
of several years," the president underlined.