9/11 hijackers spiritual leader ordered bombing of US airliner

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London, Dec 27 (ANI): Al Qaeda commander and spiritual leader of the 9/11 hijackers and Fort Hood gunman Major Nidal Hasan is said to be behind the failed plot to blow up an US airliner on Friday.

Yemen-based cleric Anwar al Awlaki whose messages have been promoted at British mosques and universities was last night named as the inspiration for Friday's US bomb plot.

Senior Republican congressman Pete Hoekstra said that according to his US intelligence sources, Awlaki and the failed bomber, University College London student Umar Abdulmutallab, had been in touch with each before Friday's flight.

The 38-year-old cleric is believed to have been the target of a US-backed Yemeni air strike last week, the Daily Express reports.

Security sources believe the military assault was launched after American, Yemeni and Saudi intelligence services discovered major terror plots against Western targets.

Initial reports suggested that Awlaki and dozens of other Al Qaeda operatives were killed, but his allies claim he survived.

If his links to the Northwest Airlines bomb are confirmed, it will again expose the increasing threat of radicalisation on Britain's university campuses.

The American born imam is a hero to Islamic student societies throughout Britain. He is invited regularly to send video messages to students who believe he is a devout man of peace.

He has also spoken at the radical East London Mosque, while its controversial offshoots, the Islamic Forum Europe and the Young Muslim Organisation, have promoted his work.

On Saturday, hours after the US terror plot, students at the City University Islamic Society in London were defending Awlaki on their message board.

They said his attackers were "liars and evil doers" and called for him and Al Qaeda "soldiers" to be blessed. (ANI)

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