Anwar al-Awlaki is no more. The al-Qaeda cleric, who became one of the world’s most dangerous terrorists, has been killed by a US drone aircraft in Yemen.
It’s another foreign policy triumph for Barack Obama, who ensured that Awlaki, of Yemeni descent, became the first US citizen to be placed on the CIA’s targeted assassination list. The “spiritual leader” of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula seemed to have a hand in almost every major terrorist plot against the west. He was linked to the 2009 Fort Hood shootings, the “Underwear Bomber”, the failed Times Square plot, several of the 11 September 2001 attackers and Roshonara Choudhry, who stabbed the Labour MP Stephen Timms. All were inspired by Awlaki’s jihadist sermons, many of which remained on YouTube, despite the protests of the UK government
His death is the biggest blow to al-Qaeda since the killing of bin Laden. Awlaki’s relative youth (he was 40), eloquence and reach meant that he filled at least part of the void left by Osama.