Yemen said this weekend it is not hunting Anwar al-Awlaki, the US-born cleric who has been linked to the Fort Hood shooter and Christmas Day underwear bomber. Awlaki was recently added to the CIA's hit list.
Yemen appeared to balk this weekend at a recent US authorization to capture or assassinate Anwar Al-Awlaki, the Yemeni-American cleric tied to 9/11 attackers, the Fort Hood shooter, and the Christmas Day underwear bomber.
“Anwar al-Awlaki has always been looked at as a preacher rather than a terrorist and shouldn’t be considered as a terrorist unless the Americans have evidence that he has been involved in terrorism,” Foreign Minister Abu Bakr al-Qirbi told reporters on Saturday, adding that the government was not hunting the US-born cleric believed to be living in Yemen. “The detailed information ... and evidence gathered by US agencies has not been given to Yemen.”
The US has sought in recent months to heighten cooperation with Yemen, where it believes a relatively new offshoot of Al Qaeda is gaining strength. It has also pledged to double its modest military aid to Yemen, the Arab world’s poorest state. The state’s ability to govern has been compromised by a secessionist movement in the south and a rebellion in the north that was only recently resolved.
Yemen has vowed to crack down on Islamist militants, but its alignment with US counterterrorism goals risks raising the ire of powerful tribes in remote areas where Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) operates.
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