Ex-San Diego Cleric And Al-Qaida Leader Tied to Paris Terrorists
Friday, January 9, 2015
One of the suspects in this week’s massacre in Paris claimed ties to former San Diego imam and al-Qaida leader Anwar al-Awlaki , who was killed by U.S. forces in September 2011.
Before suspected Paris shooter Chérif Kouachi and his brother were killed by police, he told a French TV station they had been financed by al-Awlaki in Yemen. Reuters has quoted a Yemeni source confirming Chérif Kouachi's brother, Said, met with al-Awlaki before the latter was killed in a U.S. drone strike.
Al-Awlaki was an imam for four years at a La Mesa mosque where authorities say he met regularly with two of the 9/11 hijackers who lived for a time in San Diego. In 1999, he also enrolled in a master’s degree program in educational leadership at San Diego State University.
Another former San Diegan, Jehad Mostafa, is on the FBI’s most wanted terrorist list. He is believed to have met with al-Awlaki in Yemen several years ago before leaving to fight for the terrorist group al-Shabab in Somalia.
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