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May 7th, 2011

U.S. Drone Misses American-Born Terror Boss in Yemen

Radical Anwar al-Awlaki allegedly leads al-Qaida chapter, planned cargo jet bombings

Image: American born radical cleric Anwar al-Awlaki
American born radical cleric Anwar al-Awlaki is shown in a 2010 photo. (Photo credit: AFP — Getty Images file)

May 6, 2011

A U.S. drone targeted American-born radical cleric Anwar al-Awlaki in Yemen but missed, Yemeni and U.S. officials told The Wall Street Journal Friday, a day after the attack. …

Media reports have said he is a possible successor to al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden, killed Monday by U.S. Navy SEALs at his Abbottabad, Pakistan, compound. [link added]

CBS News and The Wall Street Journal, citing Yemeni and U.S. officials, said al-Awlaki was not hit when a missile was fired at a car in southern Yemen, killing two brothers believed to be al-Qaida militants. …

Al-Awlaki is believed to be behind last year’s attempt to down cargo jets carrying bomb-laden toner cartridges. The attack by Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, led by al-Awlaki, failed after Saudi intelligence provided the tracking numbers for the parcels, sent via United Parcel Service and FedEx. [links added]

The group also is said to have inspired attacks by Muslims inside the United States — including the Fort Hood, Texas, shootings in which an Army psychiatrist is accused of killing 13 people and wounding 32. [links added]

With bin Laden’s death, some officials say al-Awlaki and his group represent the gravest threat to the U.S. …

The attempt to kill al-Awlaki was the first known U.S. military strike inside Yemen since May 2010, when U.S. missiles mistakenly killed one of Yemen President Abdullah Ali Saleh’s envoys and others, the Journal said. [link added] 

Full story


Related reports on this site

Al-Qaida’s Low-Intensity, High-Frequency Strategy (Oct. 30, 2010)

A suspicious package contained a "manipulated" toner cartridge that had white powder on it, a law enforcement source said.
A suspicious package contained a “manipulated” toner cartridge that had white powder on it, a law enforcement source said. (Photo credit: CNN)

Bin Laden Issues New Threat (Oct. 27, 2010)

Bin Laden warns France to get out of Afghanistan.
Bin Laden warns France to get out of Afghanistan.
(Image: CNN / File)

New Post-9/11 Terrorist Strategy (Sept. 22, 2010)


Report warns of small-scale attacks by al Qaida (MSNBC, Sept. 25, 2010) — A Washington Post report says that the risk of small-scale attacks by al Qaida and its allies are on the rise. MSNBC’s Alex Witt talks with international terrorism consultant Evan Kohlmann. (03:19)

Battle Lines Are Drawn in Yemen (Jan. 2, 2010)

Image: Smoke outside the U.S. embassy in San'a, Yemen
Smoke billows from the U.S. Embassy complex in Sanaa, Yemen, after a deadly car bombing on Wednesday, Sept. 17, 2008. (Photo credit: Yemen News Agency)

Obama Opens Third War Front (Dec. 28, 2009)

Yemenis protest in the Radfan district of Lahj on Thursday, Dec. 24, 2009 against a government raid that targeted suspected al-Qaida members. (Photo credit: AFP — Getty Images)

Yemen Link in Airline Terror Plot (Dec. 26, 2009)

Anwar al Awlaki
This Oct. 2008 file photo shows U.S.-born Imam Anwar Al-Awlaki, who has called on Muslims to kill American civilians. (Photo credit: Associated Press / Los Angeles Times)

Obama Fires Missiles into Yemen (Dec. 19, 2009)


Al-Qaida in Yemen largest terror threat? (MSNBC, Aug. 25, 2010) — U.S. officials are saying al-Qaida in Yemen now presents the biggest terror threat and are planning to increase predator drone strikes. NBC’s Jim Miklaszewski reports. (01:58)


FROM THE ARCHIVES: One Year Ago — May 7, 2010

Times Square Taliban Link

Image: Supporters of the youth wing of the Pakistani religious party Jamat-e-Islami rally to support Faisal Shahzad
Supporters of the youth wing of the Pakistani religious party Jamat-e-Islami rally to support Faisal Shahzad, the suspect accused of the failed Times Square car bombing, in Karachi, Pakistan, on Thursday, May 6, 2010. (Photo credit: Shakil Adil / AP)

One year ago today, I reported that alleged links between Faisal Shahzad’s Times Square bombing attempt and the Taliban are adding to perceptions of Pakistan as a global exporter of terror and increasing pressure on its military to crack down on extremists along the Afghanistan border. The Pakistani Taliban — Tehrik-e-Taliban — was hellbent on revenge inside America after a U.S. Predator drone attack killed its leader, Baitullah Mehsud, in August 2009 and more recent strikes that nearly killed Baitullah’s successor, Hakimullah Mehsud, in January 2010.


FROM THE ARCHIVES: Two Years Ago — May 7, 2009

Sharp Increase in Iraq Violence

Image: Bombing in Baghdad, Iraq
A man stands amid vehicles destroyed in a explosion in Baghdad, Iraq, on Wednesday, May 6, 2009. (Photo credit: Loay Hameed / AP)

Two years ago today, on May 7, 2009, I reported that a spate of bombings in Iraq raised concern that militants were regrouping after suffering sharp setbacks in fighting during the previous two years, 2007-2008.

2 Responses to “Awlaki Escapes U.S. Drone Strike”
  1. Immelman for Congress » Blog Archive » Obama Fires Missiles into Yemen Says:

    […] On May 5, 2011, drone aircraft fired missiles aimed at Anwar al-Awlaki, the radical American-born cleric who the United States government has tried to kill for more than a year. Mr. Awlaki survived. […]

  2. Immelman for Congress » Blog Archive » American-Born Terrorist Anwar al-Awlaki Killed in Yemen Says:

    […] Awlaki Escapes U.S. Drone Strike (May 7, 2011) […]

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