A deceased Al-Qaeda terrorist leader who once studied at San Diego State University, and was considered a “moderate Muslim” before leaving the U.S. for Yemen, has been linked to two terrorists who killed 12 in last week’s Charlie Hebdo attack in Paris, France.
Al-Awlaki, reported as killed in a 2011 drone strike, has been linked to a myriad of successful and would-be terrorist attackers, including the Kouachi brothers that launched the wave of attacks in Paris.
Said Kouachi met weekly with al-Awlaki before the terrorist mastermind’s 2011 death. Reuters confirmed with a senior Yemeni intelligence source: “We do not have confirmed information that he was trained by al Qaeda but what was confirmed was that he has met with Awlaki in Shabwa,” the source said.
Cherif Kouachi told BFM-TV, in a segment aired after the massacre, “”I was sent, me, Cherif Kouachi, by Al Qaeda of Yemen. I went over there and it was Anwar al Awlaki who financed me,” according to a Reuters translation of the French language broadcast.
Al-Awlaki was born in New Mexico. He moved to San Diego in 1996. There he attended graduate school and served as Imam at Rabat mosque, as Breitbart previously reported. During his time in Southern California, al-Awlaki met with an associate of the convicted 1993 World Trade Center terrorist “Blind Sheik” Omar Abdel Rahman.
The first two 9/11 terrorists to enter the U.S. first resided in the San Diego area, reportedly attending al-Awlaki’s mosque and meeting with him as he served as their spiritual advisor.
U.S. security forces are reported as saying concrete evidence exists that al-Awlaki recruited Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the 2009 attempted “underwear bomber,” according to Reuters.
Fort Hood terrorist Nidal Hasan called al-Awlaki his “teacher, mentor and friend” saying, “I hold him in high esteem for trying to educate Muslims about their duties to Allah. May Allah accept his martyrdom,” as published in FrontPage Mag.
Al-Awlaki preached at mosques in both San Diego and Virginia, and was described at that time as a “moderate muslim.” Breitbart previously reported, “Al-Awlaki once was considered a moderate Muslim before leaving the states and was recorded as saying, “Islam is a religion of peace” in a 2001 Washington Post video. In 2002, living at his family’s home in Yemen, Al-Awlaki created online videos “preaching jihad against the United States,” according to ABC.”
Before his demise, al-Awlaki was dubbed the “bin Laden of the Internet” and linked to terror offenses in numerous locations reported the Telegraph.
Now that the Kouachi brothers have been significantly linked to the Islamic fundamentalist and terrorist leader, questions arise over whether the Paris attacks were inspired by al-Awlaki and if there are more attacks to come. Praise for the attacks has come online from ISIS (Islamic State) and al-Qaeda supporters with many described as “militant supporters” coalescing around the hashtags #Parisattack and #Parisisburning.
According to the Associated Press, experts like the U.K.’s Aymenn al-Tamimi believe the professionalism of the attacks could serve to recruit more supporters: “It is that quality to such operations that helps recruitment.”
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