US authorises targeted killing of American citizen
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Last Updated: Wednesday, April 07, 2010, 13:59
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 counter-terrorism officials.

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 in Texas.

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 said.

"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.


First Published: Wednesday, April 07, 2010, 13:59

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