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Sources tell ABC News that an air raid in Yemen this morning may have killed two top al Qaeda officials as well as an imam believed to have inspired the alleged Fort Hood shooter.
Those believed to have been present at the target in the eastern province Shabwa included the leader of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, Nasser al-Wahayshi, his No. 2, Saeed al-Shehri, and Anwar al-Awlaki, who was quoted telling Al Jazeera Web that Maj. Nidal Hasan, asked him "about killing U.S. soldiers and officers. His question was is it legitimate" under Islamic law.
Awlaki said the query was a year before the Fort Hood shooting, making him "astonished. Where was American intelligence that claimed once that it can read any car plate number anywhere in the world?"
The sources would not get into whether the air raid was conducted by US or Yemeni forces.
US officials are still seeking confirmation that the raid definitively killed the three men.
Earlier this year, al-Wahayshi, a Yemeni, called for shariah law for Yemen. "The time for the rule of Islam has come so that you could bask in the justice and tolerance it brings," he said. He described the president of Yemen, Ali Abdullah Saleh, who has cooperated with the US in fighting al Qaeda, as "an infidel and an agent ... and today he is using all forms of oppression with the pretext of preserving unity."
Last month al-Wahayshi called for attacks on Western airports and trains. Writing in an e-magazine Sada al-Malahem, al-Wahayshi told supporters, "You do not need to exert great effort or spend a lot of money to make 10 grams of explosives, more or less. Do not spend a long time searching for materials as they already exist in your mother's kitchen. Make them (bombs) in the shape of a bomb you hurl, or detonate through a timer or a remote detonator or a martyrdom-seeker belt or any electrical appliance."
Thomas Joscelyn, at the Weekly Standard, provides analysis:
When Aulaqi’s ties to Major Nidal Malik Hassan first surfaced in the aftermath of the Fort Hood shooting, the FBI was quick to pooh-pooh them. The Bureau claimed that Hassan’s numerous emails back and forth with Aulaqi were consistent with Hassan’s research. (Maj. Hassan was reportedly researching the psychological effects of combat in Iraq and Afghanistan.)But reports are conflicting. See ChattahBox, "Rumors Of Anwar al-Awlaki’s Death May Be False, CBS Says."
This was transparently false. There is no legitimate reason for a Major in the U.S. Army to contact a leading al Qaeda cleric with ties to the September 11 hijackers (Aulaqi assisted at least two of them en route to their day of terror as a “spiritual advisor”). Aulaqi does not have anything legitimate to say about the psychological effects of combat on U.S. troops other than, as a leading al Qaeda ideologue, he is all for them. Also, we’ve come to learn that Hassan said something to the effect that he couldn’t wait to join Aulaqi in the afterlife.
Got that? Major Hassan -– who professed his admiration of suicide bombings and offered a theological justification for them in a June 2007 presentation at Walter Reed Hospital -– told a top jihadist ideologue, who preaches the virtues of suicide bombings, that he couldn’t wait to be reunited in the next life.
Meanwhile, the FBI concluded: “Nothing to see here, move along.”
This latest reported airstrike, whether it killed Aulaqi or not, further demonstrates the underlying absurdity of the FBI’s “analysis” of Hassan’s ties to Aulaqi.
Anwar al Aulaqi has played a prominent role in al Qaeda’s war against the West and America – so much so that his home was an appropriate military target. And if that strike killed any of the al Qaeda leaders who were reportedly meeting there, then it was a successful one in terms of depleting the terror network’s ranks.The dichotomy could not be any plainer: The U.S. military, which bungled its own evaluation of Major Hassan, is at war with al Qaeda and its allies. For years, the FBI couldn’t put together a prosecutable case against one of America’s more effective enemies. For those who believe terrorists can be defeated primarily, or even exclusively, by our law enforcement agencies and in the courts, the story of the FBI's investigations into Anwar al Aulaqi is a striking rebuttal.
* Allahpundit, "Bonus: Yemen strike may have also killed Gitmo alumnus."
* Ed Morrissey, "Breaking: Jihadi recruiter Awlaki killed in Yemen raids."
* Michelle Malkin, "Report: Fort Hood jihadist spiritual advisor allegedly killed in Yemen raid."
* Jawa Report, "Air Strike in Yemen Targets Al Qaeda Meeting at Home of Anwar Awlaki, Update: Associates of Cole Bomber al Quso."
* Outside the Beltway, "Fort Hood-Linked Imam Killed in Yemen Strike."
Image and Video Credits: The News Bizarre.