US debating legality of targetting former citizen terrorist Anwar al-Awlaki

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Washington, Apr.8 (ANI): In today's wars against "nonstate actors" such as Al Qaeda, individuals may be targeted for what amounts to assassination, but when those targets are American citizens, the US confronts difficult legal questions.

According to a Christian Science Monitor (CSM) report, while the Obama administration has put Yemeni terrorist Anwar al-Awlaki on its kill or capture list, as he is reported to be plotting attacks against the United States, there is the important legal question-Is it legal in the war on terror for the US to target an American citizen?

Anwar al-Awlaki, a former US resident living in Yemen and an accused Al Qaeda supporter, has said on his website that the attack at Fort Hood in Texas, perpetrated by alleged gunman Major Nidal Hasan, was a 'heroic act.'

The Obama administration says it will use lethal force against Anwar al-Awlaki.

A report Wednesday in The New York Times indicated that what triggered US officials putting the Muslim cleric on the kill-or-capture list was their determination that he was not only inciting attacks against the US, but also "participating" in them.

"Awlaki is a proven threat. He's being targeted," said a US official.

Rep. Jane Harman (D) of California, who chairs the homeland security subcommittee on intelligence, calls Awlaki "probably the person, the terrorist, who would be terrorist No. 1 in terms of threat against us."

"He is very much in the sights of the Yemenis, with us helping them," Harman said at a recent panel discussion in Washington. (ANI)

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