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U.S. drone kills al-Qaeda leader in Yemen

World Events

U.S. drone kills al-Qaeda leader in Yemen

Jorge Hernandez September 30, 2011

One of the top leaders of Al-Qaeda was killed Friday morning by an airstrike in Yemen. American-born cleric Anwar al-Awlaki was described as one of the largest threats to American security, and some considered him more dangerous than Osama bin Laden, NBC News reports.

The attack was made by an unmanned U.S. drone and also killed four others. This is not the first time that al-Awlaki has been the target of a drone mission, but an attack earlier this year in May was unsuccessful.

Representative Peter King was cautiously optimistic about the killing of al-Awlaki. Though he lauded the successful operation, he made sure to stress the fact that the U.S. needs to remain vigilant lest another terrorist step up and fill his shoes.

"For the past several years, al-Awlaki has been more dangerous even than Osama bin Laden had been," King, the chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security, said, according to the news source. "The killing of al-Awlaki is a tremendous tribute to President Obama and the men and women of our intelligence community."

Cleric al-Awlaki has been deemed a threat to the United States for several years, and was even put on the military's kill or capture list. Officials believe the fact that he was an American citizen made him even more dangerous, and he has been implicated in a number of suspected terror plots including hte infamous "underwear bomber" on Christmas Day 2009.

According to CNN, al-Awlaki was born in New Mexico but moved to Yemen with his family when he was a boy. He eventually returned to the United States for college at Colorado State University. He is believed to have been in the U.S. as late as 2002.