An American-born cleric considered an inspiration to Fort Hood shooter Nidal Malik Hasan may be among 30 militants killed Thursday in an air strike by Yemeni forces.
Officials believe that Anwar Al-Awlaki is among the dead in what news reports indicate was a strike targeting a meeting of Al Qaeda leaders in Yemen.
Also believed to be among the casualties are two leaders of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. None of the identities has been confirmed.
Awlaki was the subject of repeated investigations when he lived in America and preached at the Dar al-Hijrah mosque in Falls Church, Va. He is believed to have known two of the 9/11 hijackers. Since leaving the U.S. around 2002, Awlaki's preaching turned even more radical. He argued that the U.S. was leading "a war against Islam," a message that seemed to resonate with Hasan, an Army psychiatrist.
Hasan reportedly communicated with Awlaki in at least 18 emails last year. Awlaki claimed one email came in a year ago "asking for an edict regarding the [possibility] of a Muslim soldier [killing] colleagues who serve with him in the American army." The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) has a must-read translation of an interview with Awlaki about his communication with Hasan.
Hasan's shooting rampage Nov. 5 left 13 people dead and 30 more wounded at Fort Hood. Hasan is reportedly paralyzed after being shot himself, faces a military trial for the killings.