U.S. Drone Strike on al-Awlaki Likely Kills al-Qaeda Bomb-maker in Yemen
    2011-10-01 12:14:55     Xinhua       Web Editor: Zhangxu

The U.S. drone strike that killed radical cleric Anwar al-Awlaki in Yemen might have also eliminated a leading bomb-maker of al-Qaeda, U.S. intelligence officials said Friday.

Should the death of Ibrahim al-Asiri be confirmed, it would make the raid the most successful single mission against al-Qaeda operatives so far, two unidentified U.S. officials were quoted by U.S. media as saying.

Al-Asiri was linked to several failed terrorist attempts at the United States. His fingerprints were discovered on the bomb carried by a Nigerian man who tried to blow up an airliner over Detroit on Christmas Day in 2009.

U.S. authorities also suspected that al-Asiri was involved in the making of the bombs that al-Qaeda operatives slipped into printers and shipped to the United States last year in an attempt to launch a terror attack.

Earlier Friday, U.S. President Barack Obama praised the killing of al-Awlaki as "a major blow" to al-Qaeda's most active operational affiliate, the al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.

Speaking at a ceremony to honor Adm. Mike Mullen, the outgoing chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Obama said that al-Awlaki's death marked "another significant milestone in the broader effort to defeat al-Qaeda and its affiliates."

Al-Awlaki was believed to be behind several high-profile terrorist attempts against the United States, including the two that involved al-Asiri.

Al-Awlaki, born in the U.S. state of New Mexico to Yemeni parents, is branded as a major recruiter for al-Qaeda. He provided spiritual guidance to many al-Qaeda attackers, including Nidal Malik Hassan, a Muslim U.S. Army psychiatrist, who killed 13 at Fort Hood, Texas, in November 2009.

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