US born cleric al-Awlaki added to terror blacklist

July 17th, 2010 - 1:49 pm ICT by ANI  

Washington, July 17 (ANI): Radical Yemeni-American cleric Anwar al-Awlaki has been added to an Obama administration terrorism blacklist that will see him being targeted with sanctions aimed at cutting off his financial support.

Anwar al-Awlaki’s inclusion in the list of Specially Designated Global Terrorists means any bank accounts found in the United States belonging to him are frozen, Americans will be forbidden from doing business with him and he is banned from traveling to the United States.

The move comes about six months after Washington put al-Awlaki on a secret list of targets to be captured or killed.

Anwar al-Awlaki has gained a cult following for his anti-U.S. rants. The charismatic terror leader has acquired the knack of mesmerizing young Westerners to wage jihad.

“Awlaki’s been moving up the terrorist food chain for several years now,” said a U.S. official familiar with his classified dossier.

“He’s gone from propagandist to operational figure within AQAP [Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula], which has become more interested in external plotting over time, including planning attacks against U.S. interests at home and abroad,” he added

Counter-terror officials compare the Yemeni-American’s magnetism to those of cult leaders.

He’s an expert at persuading ordinary men, like the recently arrested New Jersey plotters to kill for Allah - or die for Him.

Time and time again, from the Fort Hood, Tex., massacre to the underwear bomber to the Times Square plot, al-Awlaki’s name ends up in the thick of it - giving him the dubious distinction of being the only U.S. citizen marked for death by his own government.

Awlaki’s latest success with inspiring followers to wage anti-U.S. jihad was the two New Jersey men arrested Saturday at Kennedy Airport on their way to join Somalia’s Al Qaeda-tied Al Shabaab after listening to his speeches.

Besides his rants, a major reason for al-Awlaki’s influence is that, unlike core Al Qaeda leaders, he has been remarkably accessible: He has a Web site and answers his e-mail. (ANI)

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