New York: 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
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
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.
"The danger Awlaki possess to the US is no longer
confined towards. He is now involved in active plots against
America" officials told the Times.
"It is extremely rare, if not unprecedented to give
authorisation for a targeted killing of an American" officials
"The US works, exactly as the American people expect, to
overcome threats to their security, and this individual has
become one. Awlaki knows what he is done, and he knows he
won`t be met with handshakes and flowers. None of this should
surprise anyone" officials said adding that the orders to kill
had come earlier this year.