June 10, 2010

Anwar al-Awlaki: MI5 warns of the al-Qaeda preacher targeting Britain The security services fear that a new generation of British extremists is being radicalised by Awlaki, who recruited the Detroit plane bomber. They are concerned that Awlaki’s followers could unleash a wave of easily planned guerrilla-style terrorist attacks, similar to the massacre in Mumbai. Such small-scale attacks could be carried out cheaply by individuals with little terrorist training and without the need for the support of a large organisation. The British security services have become so worried about Awlaki’s rising influence that they have alerted ministers to their fears. He is now regarded as one of the world’s most wanted terrorists. A briefing paper, seen by The Daily Telegraph, has been circulated within government, warning that Awlaki has now “cemented his position as one of the leading English-speaking jihadi ideologues”. His growing influence was one of the factors that led to a raised terrorism alert level in Britain earlier this year. Awlaki, who was born in America, but is of Yemeni descent, is in hiding in Yemen, where he also spent his teenage years. He has become the foremost influence on young radical Muslims across the world through his English language sermons delivered over the internet. He said in a statement in March: “Isn’t it ironic that the two capitals of the war against Islam, Washington DC and London, have also become among the centres of Western Jihad [holy war]. Jihad is becoming as American as apple pie and as British as afternoon tea.”


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