In a statement issued today, the Yemeni-based al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) confirmed the deaths of two American citizens, cleric Anwar al-Awlaki and magazine editor Samir Khan, who were slain in a recent US drone strike.
The statement concluded a condemnation of the Obama Administration for assassinating American citizens without presenting evidence against them, saying the killings were contrary to America’s stated principles.
The statement will provide some reassurance for US officials that they actually succeeded in their assassination, as the Yemeni government cautioned over the weekend that they had no actual evidence and never found Awlaki’s body.
But AQAP also promised retaliatory attacks to punish the US for killing the popular cleric, insisting that new attacks would come soon. Awlaki’s sermons were broadly popular among opponents of US foreign policy in the region, and had considerable currency among al-Qaeda’s followers as well.