Last updated: 9 November, 2011

Qaeda to produce film on Awlaqi’s life

A radical group in Yemen announced on Wednesday that a film will be produced documenting the life of slain US-born cleric Anwar al-Awlaqi and which will include a previously unknown message to Americans.

Partisans of Sharia (Islamic law) said “a film on Awlaqi’s life will be produced in both Arabic and English on his role in reviving the rite of jihad (holy war) in the hearts of many Muslim youths, especially in Arab societies,” the Al-Qaeda linked group said in a statement.

Anwar al-Awlaqi, who was the first US citizen to be put on a US list of militants targeted for assassination, was killed on September 30 in an air strike in Yemen.

The film will be produced by Sada al-Malahem, the media arm of Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula’s (AQAP), the radical group said without indicating when it will be released.

“The film will include a video, broadcast for the first time and titled: ‘Message for the American people’ — recorded in English by Sheikh Anwar before his martyrdom,” said the statement, distributed in the village of Rawda, an Al-Qaeda stronghold in Yemen’s eastern Shebwa province.

US intelligence officials believe Awlaqi was linked to a US army major charged with shooting dead 13 people in Fort Hood, Texas, and to a Nigerian student accused of trying to blow up a US airliner on December 25, 2009.

Awlaqi was also believed to be the leader of overseas operations of AQAP, which vowed revenge for his killing.

AQAP has taken advantage of 11 months of deadly protests against Yemen’s veteran President Ali Abdullah Saleh to bolster its presence not only in Shabwa, but also in nearby Marib and Abyan provinces.

Yemeni troops have been fighting hundreds of militants from Partisans of Sharia group in Abyan since they overran the provincial capital Zinjibar and adjacent towns in May.