Awlaki implicated in attack plots, US official says

September 30, 2011 15:40

WASHINGTON - Anwar al-Awlaki, a US-born cleric killed in Yemen, planned and directed attacks on US interests as "chief of external operations" for al-Qaida's Yemen-based wing, a senior US official said on Friday.

"Awlaki played a significant operational role in the attempted attack on a US airliner in December 2009 (and) helped oversee the October 2010 plot to detonate explosive devices aboard US cargo aircraft," the official said.

The US government also learned that Awlaki sought to use poisons including cyanide and ricin to attack Westerners and corresponded by e-mail with a military psychiatrist later accused of carrying out a deadly shooting rampage in 2009 at the Fort Hood army base in Texas.

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