By: Fares Anam
Sana'a, May 11, 2011- Nasser al-Awlaki is the father Anwar al-Awlaki, the al-Qaeda leader in Yemen, who has U.S. citizenship and stands accused of targeting the west with terror attacks. In an interview with The Guardian newspaper on Sunday, Nasser al-Awlaki said that rumors that his son would replace Osama bin Laden as the leadership of al-Qaeda was no-nonsense. In this interview he said that U.S. media was behind these claims.
“He is just a man with strong views and a big mouth,” said al-Awlaki about his son. He said that there were three drones which hover above his village 24 hours a day. “It’s the Americans, I’m sure of it.
They’ve killed bin Laden and now they’re after my son,” he added. The Guardian explains that Anwar al-Awlaki, although not a senior al-Qaeda leader, is seen in the west as one of the network’s top leaders and the frontrunner to replace bin Laden. This was apparently all because of his charisma and savvy when he delivers sermons against the west and the U.S.
He was also popular through his use of the Internet and had supports on social networking sites like Facebook and YouTube. He has urged Muslims worldwide to target Americans.
Nasser al-Awlaki feared for the life of his eldest son, Anwar, and after the death of bin Laden, some officials believe that Anwar and the Yemen-based al-Qaeda is the most serious threat to the U.S., noted the Guardian. U.S. President Barack Obama has given the green light for the killing of Anar al-Awlaki who is believed to be hiding in Shabwa province in south-east Yemen. U.S. officials have said that the missile strike, launched from an unmanned drone in Shabwa province last Thursday and which led to the killing of two citizens, was aimed at Anwar al-Awlaki. He had escaped the missiles though.
The Wall Street Journal newspaper and CBS television in the U.S. quoted the attack as targeted at Anwar al-Awlaki. The U.S. suspects him of being linked to an attempted attack U.S. on a passenger plane on December 25 2009. The U.S. media said that they obtained this information from U.S. officials who asked not to be named.
U.S. attorney-general Eric Holder said about Anwar al-Awlaki that “he is in the same list with bin Laden”. The Yemeni Ministry of Defense meanwhile announced that “two leaders of al-Qaeda were killed” without giving any other details.
Anwar Al-Awlaki is married and is a father for five sons. He has been accused of having met with Nigerian Umar Farooq Abdul Muttalib who was wounded and detained when he tried to blow up a passenger plane on a flight between Amsterdam and Detroit.
He also corresponded with the American officer Nedhal Hassan who was in charge of shooting dead 13 persons at Fort Hood base in Texas in November 2009. The U.S. deployed drones several months ago in Yemen to hunt down al-Qaeda activists that are increasingly in Yemen.
Diplomatic documents leaked by the Wikileaks website in January confirmed the involvement of the U.S. in an air raid targeting al-Qaeda. This had caused dozens of deaths in southern Yemen in December 2009.
A leader of the Yemen-based al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) vowed last Wednesday to avenge the May 2 killing of bin Laden by U.S. special forces in Pakistan.
Source: Yemen Observer