US-born radical Yemeni cleric Anwar al Awlaki has called for the killing of Americans in a new video message posted yesterday on Islamist websites.
Awlaki said Americans are from the “party of devils” and that no special religious permissions are needed to kill them, the Associated Press reported.
In the 23-minute, Arabic-language message, Awlaki said it was “either them or us.”
Speaking in Arabic, Awlaki appears sitting behind a desk with a sheathed dagger in his belt.
The cleric, who was charged last Tuesday in Yemen over alleged ties to al-Qaeda and incitement to kill foreigners, is also wanted in the US on terrorism charges.
Washington linked the young imam and son of a former Yemeni government minister to a shooting rampage last November at a US army base and to the botched Christmas Day 2009 attack on a US airliner.
Prosecutors told a Yemeni court specialising in terrorism cases that Awlaki corresponded with Hisham Mohammed Assem, a Yemeni accused of shooting dead French energy contractor Jacques Spagnolo near Sanaa in October, for months and encouraged him to kill foreigners.
Yemen, the ancestral homeland of Usama bin Laden and headquarters of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, was coming under increasing pressure from Washington to hunt down the cleric.
“M. Awlaki is a problem,” US Homeland Security and Counterrorism Adviser John Brennan said in January.
“He’s clearly a part of al-Qaeda in [the] Arabian Peninsula. He’s not just a cleric. He is in fact trying to instigate terrorism.”
Mr Brennan directly accused Awlaki of having links with Major Nidal Hasan, who is suspected of shooting dead 13 people at Fort Hood military base in Texas, and said Awlaki also likely had contact with Nigerian student Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, accused of trying to blow up the Christmas Day plane.