Killing of Abdulrahman al-Awlaki

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Abdulrahman al-Awlaki
Abdulrahman Anwar al-Aulaqi[1]

(1995-08-26)August 26, 1995[1]
DiedOctober 14, 2011(2011-10-14) (aged 16)
Cause of deathDrone strike
RelativesNasser al-Awlaki (grandfather)
Nawar al-Awlaki (half-sister)

Abdulrahman Anwar al-Awlaki (also spelled al-Aulaqi, Arabic: عبدالرحمن العولقي; August 26, 1995 – October 14, 2011) was a 16-year-old United States citizen who was killed by a U.S. drone strike in Yemen. He was the son of jihadist Anwar al-Awlaki.

Death and aftermath[edit]

According to the United States government, Abdulrahman al-Awlaki's father, Anwar al-Awlaki, was a leader of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.[2] Anwar al-Awlaki was killed by a CIA drone strike several days before his son's death.[3]

The U.S. drone strike that killed Abdulrahman Anwar al-Awlaki was conducted under a policy approved by U.S. President Barack Obama.[4][5][6]

Two U.S. officials speaking on condition of anonymity stated that the target of the October 14, 2011, airstrike was Ibrahim al-Banna, an Egyptian believed to be a senior operative in al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.[7] Another U.S. administration official speaking on condition of anonymity described Abdulrahman al-Awlaki as a bystander who was "in the wrong place at the wrong time", stating that "the U.S. government did not know that Mr. Awlaki's son was there" before the airstrike was ordered.[7] When pressed by a reporter to defend the targeted killing policy that resulted in Abdulrahman al-Awlaki's death, former White House press secretary Robert Gibbs deflected blame to the victim's father, saying, "I would suggest that you should have a far more responsible father if they are truly concerned about the well-being of their children. I don't think becoming an al-Qaeda jihadist terrorist is the best way to go about doing your business".[8][9]

Human rights groups questioned why Abdulrahman al-Awlaki was killed by the U.S. in a country with which the United States was not at war. Jameel Jaffer, deputy legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union, stated "If the government is going to be firing Predator missiles at American citizens, surely the American public has a right to know who's being targeted, and why."[7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "Abdulrahman al-Awlaki's birth certificate". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on September 11, 2012. Retrieved September 10, 2012.
  2. ^ Mark Mazzetti; Charlie Savage; Scott Shane (March 9, 2013). "How a U.S. Citizen Came to Be in America's Cross Hairs". The New York Times. Archived from the original on September 29, 2015. Retrieved March 10, 2013.
  3. ^ Raghavan, Sudarsan (September 30, 2011). "Awlaqi hit misses al-Qaeda bombmaker, Yemen says". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on November 10, 2012. Retrieved September 10, 2012.
  4. ^ Johnson, Carrie (July 19, 2012). "Families Sue Over U.S. Deaths In Yemen Drone Strikes". NPR. Retrieved February 27, 2017.
  5. ^ "American drone deaths highlight controversy". NBC News. February 5, 2013. Retrieved February 27, 2017.
  6. ^ Al-Aulaqi v. Panetta
  7. ^ a b c Whitloc, Craig (October 23, 2011). "U.S. airstrike that killed American teen in Yemen raises legal, ethical questions". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on November 3, 2012. Retrieved September 10, 2012.
  8. ^ Grim, Ryan (October 24, 2012). "Teen Killed In U.S. Drone Strike Should Have 'More Responsible Father,' Obama Campaign Official Says". HuffPost.
  9. ^ Friedersdorf, Conor (October 24, 2012). "How Team Obama Justifies the Killing of a 16-Year-Old American". The Atlantic. Retrieved February 27, 2017.

External links[edit]