Friday, September 30, 2011

Yemen: Fingerprints Confirmed Identities of Awlaki and Khan

Via Los Angeles Times -

U.S. operatives on the ground in Yemen used fingerprint analysis to confirm that a joint CIA-military drone strike Friday killed American militants Anwar Awlaki and Samir Khan, according to a U.S. government official briefed on the operation.

“It was good to see the Yemen government actually allow us to go in,” the official said on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak on the record. “Allowing us to go on the property and get fingerprint analysis was a nice gesture of cooperation by the Yemeni government.”

Information about Awlaki’s location came from the interrogation of an operative of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula held in Yemeni custody. Samir Khan was not targeted in the strike, but fingerprint analysis after the fact confirmed he was killed as well, said the official.

“Samir Khan was a bonus. It was a twofer,” said Rep. Mike McCaul (R-Texas), who serves on the House Committee on Homeland Security. “It’s a pretty good hit.”

Mohammed Albasha, spokesman for the Yemeni Embassy in Washington, confirmed that Yemeni intelligence recently located Awlaki at a hideout in the town of Khashef, near the border with Saudi Arabia.

Awlaki was riding in a convoy of vehicles when the airstrike hit the motorcade, killing him, Khan and two other Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula operatives, Albasha said in an email.


Foreign Policy: Gone But Not Forgotten
The apparent killing of Yemeni-American cleric Anwar al-Awlaki by a U.S. drone on Friday, Sept. 30, is not the end of this unique figure, perhaps one of the most misunderstood men in the annals of terrorism. Many questions remain about his exact role within al Qaeda, in particular his status within al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). But even the most hyped descriptions of Awlaki's "operational" capabilities pale in comparison with the force of his personality. Ultimately, his legacy will not be a litany of bombs exploded and airplanes hijacked, but of hearts and minds moved to hate.

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