Imam of Fort Hood gunman reported dead in Yemen raid
An unnamed Yemeni official Thursday, Dec. 24 reported the death of Anwar al Awkali, imam of the mosque frequented by US. Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, the gunman who murdered 13 US military personnel at the Ford Hood, Texas last month. Hasan is also said to have been in email correspondence with Awkali who praised him for killing Americans for more than a year.
Awkali was imam of the Dar al-Hijrah mosque, attended also by three of the 9/11 hijackers.
The Yemen state news agency claimed the same air strike killed at least 30 al Qaeda fighters at a meeting Thursday in the eastern province of Shabwa to plan revenge for the Yemen government’s Dec. 17 raids in the capital Sanaa and the southern province of Abyan, in which 34 jihadis were killed and 17 arrested.
debkafile‘s counter-terror sources advise caution in accepting both Yemen reports before they are reliably confirmed. The raids last week later have been attributed not to the Yemeni air force as claimed but more likely a US seaborne strike either by drone or cruise missile. The White House did not deny reports that those strikes were ordered by President Barack Obama in person.
If cruise missiles were used, it would be the first time since the US invasion of Iraq in 2003. .
Our military sources add that the Yemeni authorities are highlighting successes, real or inflated, against al Qaeda to divert attention from their serious reverses in the campaign to quell the Iran-backed Houthi separatist rebellion in the North, notwithstanding Saudi military intervention, US assistance and, as debkafile now reports, the recent arrival of a Moroccan commando unit.