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US Admits Killing 4 Citizens in Drone Strikes

That includes al-Awlaki, three others
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted May 22, 2013 5:04 PM CDT
US Admits Killing 4 Citizens in Drone Strikes
This Oct. 2008 file photo shows Anwar al-Awlaki in Yemen.   (AP Photo/Muhammad ud-Deen, File)

(Newser) – That the US killed American citizens in drone strikes isn't exactly news, but today marks the first time the White House is officially acknowledging it, reports the Washington Post. One day before President Obama gives a speech related to US drone strategy, attorney general Eric Holder sent a letter to Congress acknowledging that the US has killed four Americans in such strikes. That includes the highly publicized killing of US-born cleric Anwar al-Awlaki in Yemen in 2011. He was the only one of the four directly targeted, and Holder said the move was justified because Awlaki had planned—and was continuing to plan—specific attacks on the US. In particular, Holder cited the failed plot to blow up an airliner on Christmas Eve in 2009. (You can read the letter via the New York Times.)

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The other three were Samir Khan, who was killed in the Awlaki attack; Awlaki's 16-year-old son, who was killed in a subsequent strike on another target; and Jude Kennan Mohammad, a native of Florida who later lived in North Carolina. Mohammad was apparently killed in Pakistan in 2011, and his death had been the subject of unconfirmed rumors since, reports the Times. He had been on the FBI's Most Wanted List for his links to terror groups, reports NBC News. (Read more drone strike stories.)

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