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Awlaqi death a major blow to Qaeda US

By Haris Afzal on Friday, September 30, 2011 with 0 comments

Awlaqi death a "major blow" to Qaeda: US

WASHINGTON: President Barack Obama said Friday the killing of US-born cleric Anwar al-Awlaqi was a "major blow" to Al-Qaeda's Yemeni outfit and

vowed to be relentless in destroying global terror networks.

Notching another success in his pursuit of top terror leaders, Obama said Awlaqi was the leader of external operations for Al-Qaeda in the Arabian

Peninsula (AQAP) and had plotted the murder of innocent Americans.

"The death of Awlaqi is a major blow to Al-Qaeda's most active operational affiliate. (It) marks another significant milestone in the broader effort to

defeat Al-Qaeda and its affiliates," Obama said.

He said Awlaqi's killing in an air raid in Yemen was a tribute to the US intelligence community and to Yemen's cooperation with the United States in a

common anti-terror campaign.

That appeared to be a hint that there may be truth to reports CIA intelligence and drone aircraft may have been used in the killing, though the White

House would not be drawn into details of the operation.

US officials believe Awlaqi played a significant role in the attempt to bring down a US airliner over Detroit by an assailant with explosives sewn into his

underwear on December 25, 2009.

He was also believed to have coordinated the thwarted 2010 plot to blow up cargo aircraft bound for the United States and had called for attacks

against Arab and US governments across the world.

Obama also warned, during a retirement ceremony for the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen, that though "weakened," AQAP

was still "dangerous."

The president also appeared to preview an expanded US sweep against extremists, following action against terror suspects in recent months in

Yemen, Pakistani tribal regions and Somalia, by Washington and its allies.

"Going forward, we will remain vigilant against any threats to the United States or our allies and partners," Obama said. (AFP)

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