By Kent Klein
U.S. President Barack Obama says the killing of radical American-born cleric Anwar al-Awlaki is a significant milestone in the effort to defeat the al-Qaida terror network.
Awlaki was linked to the group al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula. President Obama said that as a result of his killing, the group remains dangerous, but has been weakened.
“The death of Awlaki is a major blow to al-Qaida’s most active operational affiliate,” he said.
A U.S. airstrike killed Awlaki early Friday as he drove through a remote part of Yemen. U.S. officials have been quoted as saying the raid was coordinated by the CIA.
Awlaki was wanted by both the United States and Yemen for his suspected role in terrorist attacks. Those include the attempted bombing of a U.S. airliner flying to the city of Detroit in 2009, and the deadly attack on the U.S. Army base at Fort Hood, Texas.
Obama said the U.S. remains vigilant against any terrorist threat.
The president spoke at a ceremony marking the end of Navy Admiral Mike Mullen’s four-year term as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.