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Former San Diego Islamic Cleric Could Be Contender for Bin Laden’s Job

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Anwar Al-Awlaki has acted independently of Osama bin Laden and other Al Qaeda leaders.

— An Islamic cleric who used to preach at a La Mesa mosque could be in line to lead Al Qaeda following Osama bin Laden’s killing.

U.S. investigators believe Awlaki has inspired homegrown terrorists including the Fort Hood army major accused of killing 13 people. Experts say that Awlaki doesn’t need guidance from Al Qaeda leaders in Pakistan or Afghanistan. Steve Clemons of the public policy institute the New American Foundation says Awlaki likely aspires to fill bin Laden’s shoes.

“I think he may make a play for it but I think there’s a chance he’s not going to become the next bin Laden but I do think he has an appetite for it but so will others," Clemons said.

Awlaki has his own magazine called Inspire. Counterterrorism officials believe Awlaki is hiding out in Yemen.

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