Entries in Samir Khan (2)


Slain al Qaeda Supporter's Kin Get Condolence Calls from State Dept.

MASSOUD HOSSAINI/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The State Department called the family of slain al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula propagandist Samir Khan last week twice to offer their condolences, a spokeswoman for the department said Tuesday.

Khan, a U.S. citizen, was killed in the same CIA airstrike in Yemen on Sept. 30 that killed Anwar al-Awlaki, another U.S. citizen and the alleged inspiration for recent terror attempts on the United States.

A U.S. consular official, in keeping with standard practice when an American is killed abroad, phoned Khan’s next of kin “to express our sympathy with the family,” spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said.

“This was an effort to reach out to the family of an American citizen and see if any further assistance was required of us,” she said, adding that no request was made.

Nuland said there have been no calls to Awlaki’s family because they are all Yemeni and live in Yemen.

The first call was made on Monday to Khan’s uncle after he was appointed by the family as his next of kin. A second call was made to Khan’s father last Thursday, also expressing condolences. The calls were first reported by the Charlotte Observer, quoting Khan’s family.

Nuland said the delay in calling the family was caused by efforts to identify next of kin. She said she was unaware if there was any discussion on the calls about how Khan was killed.

The 25-year-old Khan was born in Saudi Arabia to a Pakistani family and later lived in the United States with his parents. He grew up in New York and then moved to North Carolina, where he began writing a pro-al Qaeda blog. He later traveled to Yemen, where he began publishing the al Qaeda magazine Inspire, which encouraged terror attacks on the West.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Officials: Al Qaeda Bombmaker Not Killed in Awlaki Strike

Stocktrek Images/Getty Images(SANA'A, Yemen) -- Al Qaeda bombmaker Ibrahim al-Asiri was apparently not killed in the drone strike in Yemen last week that killed Anwar al-Awlaki and Samir Khan, say both Yemeni and U.S. officials, despite initial reports that he may have died with the two al Qaeda leaders.

A senior U.S. official told ABC News that while it was initially believed -- based on Yemeni sources -- that al-Asiri was among those killed by Hellfire missiles, they now know it was not him.  Yemeni officials have also now told ABC News that al-Asiri was not killed in the strike.

Al-Asiri, a 29-year-old Saudi, is believed to have constructed both the "underwear" bomb used in the attempted bombing of Northwest Flight 253 on Christmas 2009 and the bombs in last year's printer bomb plot.

His fingerprint was found on the bomb allegedly packed into the underwear of Umar Abdulmutallab, accused of trying to bring down Northwest 253 over Detroit.  The two printer bombs discovered last November included toner cartridges packed with explosives, and circuitry taken from cellphones.  The bombs were shipped via UPS and FedEx to the United States from Yemen, but were intercepted en route in Dubai and Britain.

The chief target of Friday's drone strike, radical American-born cleric al-Awlaki, was a major al Qaeda figure who U.S. officials say inspired numerous terror plots against the United States.  A senior U.S. official told ABC News the United States had been tracking the high-profile jihadist for some time and had just been waiting for the perfect moment to strike.

President Obama said in an announcement Friday that al-Awlaki's death was a "major blow" to al Qaeda's most operational affiliate, the Yemen-based al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), and that the successful operation against him was a tribute to the intelligence community.

In 2010, al-Awlaki was declared a "specially designated global terrorist" and became the first U.S. citizen ever to be placed on a White House-approved list for targeted killing.  He nearly met his fate shortly after Navy SEALs killed al Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden in early May, when a drone strike hit the convoy in which he was traveling but barely missed him.

Earlier this year, America's chief counter-terrorism official Michael Leiter called him and AQAP "probably the most significant risk to the U.S. homeland."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio