The US government on Friday approved financial sanctions against Yemeni-American Imam Anwar al-Awlaqi who has been identified as a leader of al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula. The Treasury Department has now frozen Awlaqi's financial assets.

Awlaqi is wanted by US authorities for his role in a plot to blow up a A Detroit-bound Northwest Airlines plan on Christmas Day.

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"Anwar al-Awlaqi has proven that he is extraordinarily dangerous, committed to carrying out deadly attacks on Americans and others worldwide," Stuart Levey, the head of Treasury's sanctions department, was quoted by AFP as saying.

The Obama administration has already authorized the targeted killing of Awlaqi, who is an American citizen.

The US-born Awlaki moved to Yemen in 2004 and is in hiding there after being linked to the suspects in recent terror attacks.

Two of the 9/11 terrorists, as well as Major Nidal Malik Hasan, the US officer who committed the Fort Hood massacre in which 12 were killed, attended the Dar al-Hijrah mosque in Great Falls, Virginia, where Awlaki served as imam. The planners of the USS Cole bombing also called Awlaki their spiritual guide.

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