A new video published yesterday by al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula features previously unseen footage of American-born Muslim cleric Anwar al-Awlaki recruiting jihadists to attack the United States, Great Britain, and other members of the Western "crusade campaign." Awlaki, who was killed in a 2011 drone strike in Yemen, is shown emphasizing the lasting importance of suicide attacks against the West.
"This is an honor and favor from Allah and it's not a loss. It's never a loss. That's why people should learn the culture of seeking martyrdom," says Awlaki. "The Almighty has honored the mujahideen in this land when He chose among them martyrs.... Tribes should never count those killed as a loss." The video was provided to Foreign Policy by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI).
Though Awlaki was killed nearly a year and a half ago by U.S. hellfire missiles, his name remains in headlines given the legal questions surrounding his death and his lasting influence among jihadists. (Awlaki was reportedly the first American citizen to be targeted in advance and killed via drone strike during the U.S.-led war on terrorism.) Last year, a 21-year-old Bangladeshi man, who was charged with attempting to blow up a Federal Reserve Bank in New York, attributed his jihadist views to sermons he listened to by Awlaki. Awlaki also met so-called "underwear bomber" Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab before his failed attempt to blow up an airplane in December 2009. Prior to the deadly 2009 shooting spree at Fort Hood, Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan exchanged e-mails with Awlaki.
In other segments of the 30-minute-long video, two other AQAP clerics, Harith Al-Nadhari and Ibrahim Al-Rubaish, are shown eulogizing 'Adel Al-'Abbab, AQAP's top sharia official, who was killed by a drone strike near the end of last year. According to MEMRI, "The video reveals images and footage of Al-'Abbab for the first time."
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