British intelligence officials are warning that operatives from the international Al Qaeda terrorist organization are training local Muslims to carry out another “Mumbai” attack.
Al Qaeda recently released a 45-minute interview with jihadist imam Anwar al-Awlaki, in which he confessed to 14 different plots in Britain, the United States and Canada. According to a report published in The Daily Telegraph, Britain's MI5 warned that the Yemen-based Islamic cleric is working to radicalize a new generation of young British Muslims.
The 39-year-old al-Awlaki is an American-born dual national of Yemenite descent who spent his teen years in the “old country” – and who returned to hide there as an adult terrorist.
Known as the [Osama] “Bin Laden of the Internet,” his English-language sermons are followed by thousands – including three of the hijackers who carried out the “9/11” attack on the United States.
Al-Awlaki was responsible for recruiting Umar Farouk Abdul Mutallab, a Muslim Nigerian national who attempted to blow up Northwest Airlines Flight 253 en route from Amsterdam to Detroit on December 25, 2009. The attempt failed when the plastic explosives hidden in his underwear did not detonate.
Another of Al-Awlaki's followers is Nidal Malik Hasan, the U.S. Army psychiatrist who murdered 13 people and wounded 30 others in November 2009 at an American military base just outside Killeen, Texas.
Faisal Shahzad, suspected of attempting to bomb Times Square earlier this year, also said he was “inspired” by al-Awlaki's sermons.
American sources have said Al-Awlaki is considered an inspirational leader within the Al-Qaeda terrorist organization.
He was quoted in March as saying that “the two capitals of the war against Islam, Washington D.C. and London, have also become among the centers of Western Jihad [holy war]. Jihad is becoming as American as apple pie, and as British as afternoon tea.”
In April 2010, U.S. President Barack Obama approved the targeted assassination of Anwar al-Awlaki, a step that required the approval of the country's National Security Council.